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Ochoa: EO to harmonize national, local mining policies

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Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Tuesday that a final draft of the proposed executive order (EO) on mining had already been submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his approval.

Ochoa said that thorough consultations with all the stakeholders and other processes involved in the drafting of the proposal had been fulfilled, as he expressed hope that the recommended EO will be able to harmonize the conflicts in the mining policies between the national and local governments.
“There are mechanisms in the proposal that are on the way forward, as this proposed EO hopes to strike a balance between interests or supposedly conflicting interests between the mining industry and the environment, among others,” the Executive Secretary pointed out.

“It (proposed EO) also made an attempt to harmonize the seemingly conflicting laws, rules and regulations, particularly national laws and local laws,” he lsaid. “Hopefully, with that we will be able to put some order in approving and in handling mining applications.”

Ochoa added that there were some suggestions in the proposed EO, which was based on the resolution of the economic and climate change clusters, for Congress to pass appropriate laws to further strengthen the mining industry without compromising the preservation and protection of the environment.

“There are things we cannot cover in the EO and can only be achieved through legislation,” he explained.
Ochoa likewise mentioned the possible creation of a mining council under the proposed EO, but declined to elaborate pending the approval of the new policy by the Chief Executive.

It will be recalled that President Benigno Aquino III had sought a comprehensive review of the existing mining policies and the mining state of the mining industry vis-à-vis environmental degradation, safety issues, and dislocation of indigenous peoples.

by: PNA




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