MANILA—The multi-stakeholder team of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has proposed a three-month review of the operations of 23 mining firms ordered close by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said members of the team, which had their first meeting Monday, had agreed on the “composition, scope and process by which we will undertake the review.”
”No programs (yet but) essentially the matter by which we will undertake the review,” he told members of the media after the review team’s meeting that finished Monday night.
Agabin, the Department of Finance’s (DOF) Legal Affairs head and in charge of the Domestic Finance Group (DFG), said they planned to start the review by March but the team must first get the approval of the MICC on administrative issues as well as on the budget.
“We will certainly try to start as soon as we can,” he said.
Agabin said the team planned to get experts from the academe but decided to exclude those from mining companies as part of the review team. He, however, declined to give names as they have yet to talk to these people.
He said the study will be “done in a scientific manner” and will take into account the “technical, economic, and social aspects of the mining operations.”
He said any decision on mine site visits would depend on the review team.
Results of the fact-finding measure would be submitted to the MICC and recommendatory in line with Executive Order (EO) 79, which established the MICC, he said.
Agabin said MICC was mandated to conduct review of the country’s mining operations every two years, thus, the team and the MICC, as a whole, would respect the DENR orders.
Asked what the team’s decision would be if its audit had different results than that of the DENR, the DOF official said: “I do not know if there is a mismatch.”
“We’ll just have to see what the review team comes up,” he said.
The review would not include the cancellations of 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSA) of sites that were within watershed areas, he said.
Agabin added that they had not decided when the next meeting of the review team would be.