Sunday, June 5, 2016

Duterte's decision on mining is very encouraging

Mayor Rodrigo "Rody"Duterte's decision to halt all big mining operations is a refreshing revelation. For one, that is the right direction--at the moment. For as long as government policy remains in a very confusing state, especially the rate of return the people gets from mining operations, operations should be momentarily suspended.

At present, the revenue generated from this industry remains disturbing and a disappointment. It is even less than 5%. This industry has the potential of really contributing towards national development. However, the returns are not that encouraging despite tons and tons already mined.

For mining to be beneficial for the Filipino People, the following should be undertaken:

1. Increase the revenues being given to government by mining firms. Revenues should at least be within the range of 10-15%. Mining royalties to indigenous groups whose lands are being mined, should likewise be increased.

2. Develop the country's steel and mine ore refineries. Ore should not be allowed to leave the country just for processing abroad. Ore should be refined here and exported from here.

3. There should be a limit for importation of minerals. If the local supply is adequate, then, there should be a limit to importation.

4. The Office of the President should create a National Mining Board (NMB), which essentially should act as the main regulatory agency for mining. The NMB should develop the local mining sector, develop the industrial base and provide markets for Philippine steel, copper, gold, silver, and nickel products. The Philippines should start becoming a major player in this industry.

5. There should be clear environmental protection standards set. Mining sites should have respective developmental plans.