ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Chambers complain about Philippine mining regs
The Aquino administration’s mining policy is unsettling the investor community at a time when the government is courting private sector support for the Philippines’ infrastructure development in the next six years according to foreign chambers of commerce.
The group includes the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines; the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.
The foreign chambers said three recent developments—the Supreme Court’s issuance of the “Writ of Kalikasan,” the ban on open pit mining in South Cotabato, and proposals to repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995—“are causing serious concerns within the foreign investment community about the country’s ability to move forward with a healthy, reliable and transparent mining industry policy.”
Promulgated by the Supreme Court early this year, the Writ of Kalikasan provides a set of remedies that individuals or groups can resort to in the face of violations to their right to a healthy and balanced environment.
The previous provincial government imposed South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining in the exercise of its prerogative under the Local Government Code.
The foreign chambers said the Mining Act “is at par with best international practice,” hence “it does not need to be repealed or reviewed, but rather be strictly enforced.”
Given the government’s fiscal straits, President Benigno Aquino 3rd plans to tap the private sector in a bid to improve the country’s infrastructure. The so-called public-private partnership (PPP) scheme is his administration’s key policy in bankrolling infrastructure development.
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