5,243 guests

Mining law critics told to move for its revision

Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on recently called on critics of the Philippine government's mining laws to work towards its amendment or repeal if they are against it instead of hitting people supporting the law.

"My only comment is if certain quarters think the law is unfair, they should work to change the law, as violation of the laws is not an option for any government official or any good citizen for that matter," he said in a statement.

He made the statement after former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez, whose appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments, claimed that two days after the CA rejected her appointment, thousands of hundred year-old trees were cut.

Lopez took a strong stance against mining and even issued closure orders against 23 mining firms and suspension of five companies.
    
Her decision was questioned by several groups, with Dominguez, among others, saying due process should be followed for this decision.
    
Relatively, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin, who also got the ire of Lopez, said the Philippine government is "a government of laws, not men."
    
"The Mining Act sets the terms and conditions under which mining should be conducted, as well as the conditions for its suspension or cancellation. It is the duty of government officials to implement the law," he said.
    
Agabin, who represents Dominguez in some of the meetings of the DOF and DENR-led Mining Industry Coordination Council and who have also received criticisms from Lopez being a former lawyer of a mining company, said critics of the mining law should ask lawmakers for its amendment.
    
He pointed out that "if they think this is unfair, then they should go to Congress to have it amended.”
    
“I do not know her basis for the claim that the Mining Act was subject to intense lobbying from the mining sector,” he added.