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P-Noy approves final version of mining IRR

By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated October 06, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino approved yesterday the final version of the implementing rules and regulations of the mining policies under Executive Order No. 79, allowing the expansion of mining and cement areas under Section 7 to avoid “economic dislocation.”

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said the President met with the Mining Industry Coordinating Council composed of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Assistant for Climate Change secretary Elisea Gozon, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. yesterday afternoon in MalacaƱang to finalize the IRR.

Carandang said that the approved version would be the final revision and that there would still be no automatic renewal of mining permits after 25 years of operation.

He said expansion of mining and cement areas was allowed as any prevention might have economic repercussions on the companies.

“I believe these clarifications in the IRR will resolve the issues raised by certain industry groups. It’s not exactly what they want but at least it provides clarity,” Carandang said.

“We don’t anticipate anymore revisions. The President approved the changes,” he said.

Big mining firms earlier said they would still want a dialogue with the government to thresh out revisions to the IRR which they claimed were still full of “constitutional infirmities” and not conducive to private investment or doing business in the country.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government changed the IRR but could not adopt automatic renewal of mining contracts because of possible deficiencies incurred during operations. “And (if) you fail to correct those deficiencies, how can you be expect to be granted an automatic renewal?” he said.

“Once deficiencies are corrected then perhaps, the license or the - I’m not so clear how do you call that - that right, particular right can be renewed. But, certainly, we have to look into it if there were deficiencies committed and if there are none, then there should be no cause for concern for the mining companies,” Lacierda said.

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