Systematic plan to legitimize small-scale miners sought
The government must provide systematic road maps for small-scale miners to legitimize their operations or the sector will continue to bring economic losses, a national think tank said.
In a study titled “Answering Critical Questions on Mining in the Philippines: Phase 2,” the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said the current law on small-scale mining, the People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991, was a “dismal failure” for not being able to spread employment opportunities and allow more equitable sharing of the country’s resource wealth.
“The law has been beset with policy overlaps, confusion among stakeholders, compliance and enforceability issues and lack of capacities of regulators and agencies expected to provide the necessary infrastructure support,” the study said.
It added that these were the reasons why the sector had remained informal, which added to the government’s inability to specify, prioritize and focus the support needed by the sector.
PIDS recommended that agencies must “make it more convenient” than “make a better offer” for small-scale miners and host communities to be compliant with the laws regulating small-scale mines.
Just recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it had decided to waive taxes imposed on small-scale mines to encourage miners to legitimize their operations.
The think tank said the government must focus first on creating a complete and regular profiling of the small-scale mining on a provincial or municipal level, which would enable authorities to apply focused strategies to support the sector’s development.
According to PIDS, there are highly marketable minerals and metals in around 60 out of 81 provinces in the country. In many areas, this geological and economic opportunity is the only livelihood option for residents of those communities.
“The challenge is to refine existing government approach and policy interventions, strategies and action plans,” it said.