Alternative mining bill filed anew
Sen. Grace Poe has filed an alternative mining bill that seeks to regulate exploration and development of resources and ensure equitable sharing of benefits for all.
The proposed Philippine Mineral Resources Act is similar to the Alternative Minerals Management Bill which has long been pending in Congress.
SOS Yamang Bayan Network said the filing of the bill comes at a crucial time when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced it was looking at mining as part of the government’s economic recovery stimulus to cope with the pandemic.
The new bill places more safeguards for the environment and indigenous peoples, sectors which have taken a beating under the 1995 Mining Act.
The Philippines is a highly mineralized country, with around 14 million hectares of land known to be potential sites for metallic and non-metallic mineral reserves.
However, the local mining industry remains underutilized.
“The flawed provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 are said to be the culprit behind these limited investments and flawed mining policies, thus further stunting the local economy,” the bill said.
“If properly regulated and managed, the Philippine mining industry can be a promising sector for inclusive growth and true human development, particularly if our laws will breathe life and meaning to the right of communities and indigenous peoples to develop and to participate in the development process,” it said.
The bill seeks to provide the framework for the utilization and management of the country’s mineral resources, which will address the needs of the domestic economy and uphold the rights of various stakeholders – from industry workers to indigenous peoples and local communities.
It also seeks to increase the government share to 10 percent of the gross revenues it earns from the development and utilization of mineral resources.
The export of raw mineral ores will be banned, and domestic uses for nation-building prioritized.