SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday backed the total prohibition of open-pit mining to prevent the further degradation of mountains and waterways.
During the House committee on ways and means hearing chaired by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrelita Suansing, Arroyo proposes the inclusion of a provision in House Bill (HB) Nos. 442 and 7994 which shall explicitly disallow open-pit mining.
The House ways and means committee deliberated on the two measures which propose to establish the fiscal regime for the mining industry.
“Our bill will specifically, will explicitly prohibit open-pit mining as defined and give a grace period to be determined by the [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] during which they pay the tax that you say will kill the industry,” said Arroyo.
At the same time, Arroyo also pressed for a clear definition of ‘open-pit’ mining as the House has yet to define what “open-mining” is.
According to (Environment) Secretary (Roy) Cimatu, what he understands from the President’s understanding of open-pit mining, which he used to see when he was my adviser for peace and order when he used to fly all over Mindanao, (is) that, there are holes all over the place,” said Arroyo.
What Roy Cimatu said was, without putting the term ‘open-pit mining,’ it becomes controversial and people have different understanding of it. So, he said, the ‘maximum disturbed area,’ and he defines it,” she added.
Arroyo also urged the mining sector to confer with the Department of Finance (DoF) on the sector’s proposal regarding the tax on mining.
She gave the Department of Finance (DoF) three days to submit their inputs in her proposed provision.