New mining law pushed  

AMID THE cancellation of mineral production sharing agreements of 75 mining companies, nine companies in the Davao Region, a Mindanao lawmaker is pushing for the approval of pro-environment mining law.

“With the shutting of destructive mines and this latest development of the cancellation of mining contracts, there is truly an urgent need for a pro-people, pro-environment mining legislation to complement it,” Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, chair of House Committee on Natural Resources, said in a statement.

Zarate’s group is supporting the recent order of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina P. Lopez to cancel the mining contracts, including those of 37 mining firms in Mindanao.

Of the 37 firms in the island, data from Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed that nine are from Davao Region such as Kingking Mining Corp., Alsons Development and Investment Co., King Eagle Exploration and Mining Corp., Dabawenyo Minerals Corp., Phil Youbang Mining International Corp., Sinophil Mining and Trading Corp., Core Mining Corp., Oro-East Mining Company Inc. and Napnapan Mineral Resources Inc.

These mining firms, the DENR said, are within the watershed areas. Earlier this month, the DENR slapped closure order to 14 firms in the island as a result of the department’s mining audit.

To complement the recent orders of the environment agency, the House Committee on Natural Resources is prioritizing the deliberations of a new mining law that intends to replace the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

The proposed new law, which is re-filed by Zarate, is intended for the “appropriate utilization (and) sound management” of the nation’s mineral resource.

Secretary Datu HJ Abul Khayr D. Alonto, chair of Mindanao Development Authority, also pushed for the amendments of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as the resources in the island should be well-benefitted by all Mindanaoans.

“Let us not allow anyone to exploit this land,” Alonto said.

The law, he said, must be amended like in terms on revenue sharing where the income should be of good use for the people in Mindanao.

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