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PIA Press Release

Paje underscores mining reforms

by Redjie Cawis

Baguio City (30 November) -- Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje proudly announced that the mining industry is back in business.

Paje said this is consistent with the order of President Benigno Aquino to make mining as one of the top industries in the country even as he assured that the government will protect the investments in the mining industry.

Paje, represented President Benigno Aquino as the keynote speaker in 57th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference Awards night and testimonial dinner at the CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center here in Baguio City last weekend. This was attended by local and international mining stakeholders and awardees from the different mining companies.

In ensuring the boost of the mining industry, the Secretary said that the DENR and Mines and Geosciences Bureau in partnership with the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) will be introducing reforms in promoting responsible mining and ensuring sustainability of the industry.

Paje said the DENR and PMSEA will be entering into an agreement to do administration and self regulation in mine safety. PMSEA will help the MGB in assessing the better safety requirements and concerns of mining operations of companies.

Consonant to PNoy's call for a "Tuwid na daan tungo sa Pagbabago", Paje said he will guarantee transparency in the department particularly in the MGB. He has ordered MGB National Director Leo Jasareno to post on their website data of mining companies pertaining to their application, contracts and tenements.

"This is done even without the passage of the Freedom of Public Information Bill in the congress so the public may have an access to the data and information," said Paje.

The Secretary also assured mining tenements for companies who want to mine. He said that at this time there are 2680 mining claims but only 21 companies have signified to do mining operations.

DENR will also try to increase the mining revenue of the government by retroactively implementing reforms and make sure that it will maximize and not optimize the share of the government from the mining industry, he added.

Paje also informed that they will pursue the direction of the President and strengthen the public - private partnership in the mining sector to enhance development of the mining industry and improve the value and revenue of the government and the private sectors.

Meanwhile, Paje highlighted the completion of the geo hazard mapping of the whole country during the first four months of the Aquino administration. The geo hazard maps will be distributed to the local government units for their guidance. (PIA) [top]

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