GOOD AFTERNOON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

WE APPRECIATE YOUR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THIS SERIES OF FORA ON OUR POLICY DIRECTION IN MINING. I WOULD LIKE TO CONSIDER IT AS YOUR SHOW OF SUPPORT TO THE GOVERNMENT IN OUR ENDEAVOR TO UPLIFT THE STATUS OF THE MINING INDUSTRY IN OUR COUNTRY.

BUT, OUR INTERACTION HERE IS NOT ENOUGH. THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS CONCRETE ACTIONS ON THE GROUND BY ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING WHAT WE DISCUSS AND AGREE UPON IN THESE FORA.

 IN THE RECENT SONA HELD LAST WEEK, THE PRESIDENT MADE EXCELLENT REMARKS ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND RESPONSIBLE MINING. LET US ALL TAKE THIS TO HEART BECAUSE, AS HE PREVIOUSLY SAID, THE INDUSTRY SHOULD SHAPE UP OR HE WILL CLOSE DOWN MINING.

FIRST, HE SAID: "MY POLICY IN THE UTILIZATION OF THESE RESOURCES IS NON-NEGOTIABLE: THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT MUST BE TOP PRIORITY AND EXTRACTED RESOURCES MUST BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE, NOT JUST A SELECT FEW." THIS IS SOCIAL AMELIORATION IN THE MINING INDUSTRY. 

SECOND, HE SAID: "DO NOT JUST GIVE ME TAXES. I CAN GET IT FROM OTHER SOURCES. GIVE ME WHAT NEEDS TO BE GIVEN TO MY COUNTRYMEN." HE ALWAYS SAYS THAT HE CAN FOREGO THE SEVENTY BILLION PESOS TAXES FROM MINING, IF MINING OPERATIONS WILL ONLY DESTROY THE ENVIRONMENT.

THIRD, HE SAID: "TO THE MINING INDUSTRY, I SAY THIS ONCE AGAIN AND MAYBE FOR THE LAST TIME, DO NOT DESTROY THE ENVIRONMENT OR COMPROMISE OUR RESOURCES; REPAIR WHAT YOU HAVE MISMANAGED. TRY TO CHANGE MANAGEMENT RADICALLY BECAUSE THIS TIME YOU WILL HAVE RESTRICTIVE POLICIES. THE PROHIBITION OF OPEN PIT MINING IS ONE. IT IS DESTROYING MY COUNTRY. IT IS DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT. IT WILL DESTROY THE WORLD OF TOMORROW FOR OUR CHILDREN." THIS IS OUR OBLIGATION TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.

HE GAVE A STERN WARNING TO IRRESPONSIBLE MINERS, HE SAID: "AGAIN, I WARN IRRESPONSIBLE MINERS, ALONG WITH THEIR PATRONS, TO STOP DESTROYING OUR WATERSHEDS, RECHARGE AREAS, FORESTS, AND AQUATIC RESOURCES... EXPECT REFORMS, RADICAL ONES. I CANNOT INTEND TO QUARREL WITH ANYBODY, WITH THE MONEYED, BUT FOR AS LONG AS I AM HERE I SAID: YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO CONTEND WITH ME. "

THE PRESIDENT STRESSED THAT HE EXPECTS THE MINING INDUSTRY TO DO ITS PART IN ENSURING OUR NATION'S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, STARTING NOW. HE ALSO EXHORTED ALL AGENCIES CONCERNED AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS TO UPHOLD THE CONCEPT OF NTERGENERATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE EXPLORATION AND UTILIZATION OF OUR MINERAL WEALTH, THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF OUR BIODIVERSITY, ANCHORED ON THE RIGHT TO A BALANCED AND HEALTHY ECOLOGY.

THE PRESIDENT IS VERY CLEAR WITH HIS DIRECTIVES. IT IS NOW UP TO THE MlNlNG INDUSTRY TO MEET HIS TERMS, OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES.

IN THIS SERIES OF MlNlNG FORUM, WE HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT REINVENTING MlNlNG IN RESPONSE TO THE DIRECTIVES OF THE PRESIDENT. HOW SHOULD WE DO THIS?

FIRST, WE ARE UNDERTAKING SERIOUS POLICY REFORMS THAT WOULD PRIORITIZE MEASURES THAT WILL PROTECT AND ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT.

OUR RECENT POLICY ISSUANCES ON THE LIFTING OF THE MORATORIUM ON THE ACCEPTANCE, PROCESSING AND APPROVAL OF EXPLORATION PERMIT APPLICATIONS; AND THE NON-COVERAGE OF SMALL-SCALE MlNlNG PROJECTS IN THE MORATORIUM ON THE ACCEPTANCE, PROCESSING AND APPROVAL OF NEW MlNlNG PROJECTS IN DULY DECLARED MINAHANG BAYAN, WILL HELP BOOST MlNlNG AS A CATALYST OF DEVELOPMENT.

IN ADDITION, THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL POLICY INITIATIVES IN THE PIPELINE THAT WE WILL ISSUE IN THE COMING MONTHS IN RESPONSE TO THE DIRECTIVES OF THE PRESIDENT, AND ALSO TO IMPROVE GOVERNANCE AND THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK IN MINING, TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS AND MAKE IT MORE COMPETITIVE GLOBALLY.

SECOND, PAY YOUR TAXES AND PAY THE CORRECT AMOUNT. IT IS AN OBLIGATION WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT RENEGE ON. ASIDE FROM HELPING PROVIDE THE MEANS FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DELIVER SOCIAL SERVICES TO OUR PEOPLE, IT IS ALSO ONE WAY OF SHOWING YOUR RELEVANCE IN SOCIETY.

THIRD, TAKE YOUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY SERIOUSLY. IT IS MANDATED BY LAW, WHICH IS WHY IT IS OBLIGATORY ON YOUR PART TO ALLOT A MINIMUM OF 1.5% OF YOUR OPERATING COSTS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOST AND NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES. THRU THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM, YOU CAN HELP PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITIES. THIS IS ONE WAY OF GIVING BACK TO THE MINING COMMUNITIES WHAT IS DUE THEM.

FOURTH, TO BE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE, YOU SHOULD ADOPT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS IN USING EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGIES AND BEST MINING PRACTICES IN ALL ASPECTS OF MINING OPERATIONS. WE ENCOURAGE THE INDUSTRY TO SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT-PROPOSED METAL-LED INDUSTRIALIZATION PROGRAM, INCLUDING THE PROPOSAL FOR OPERATING MINES TO SET-UP THEIR PROCESSING PLANTS IN THE COUNTRY. THIS WILL ENTAIL THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A ROBUST MINE-TO-METAL VALUE CHAIN TO ENSURE THE AVAILABILITY AND SECURITY OF MATERIALS AND COMMODITIES FOR DOMESTIC USE. THIS WILL ALSO RESULT IN THE GRADUAL PHASE-OUT IN THE EXPORT OF RAW ORES FROM THE COUNTRY.

NOW THAT THE RESULTS OF THE MlCC REVIEW ARE OUT, WE ARE CERTAIN THAT REACTIONS FROM ALL SIDES ARE FORTHCOMING. WE ARE SURE, HOWEVER, THAT THESE RESULTS WILL STAND SCRUTINY AND REPROACH SINCE THOSE WHO CONDUCTED THE AUDIT ARE SCIENTISTS AND EXPERTS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FIELDS.

TO THOSE WHO PASSED THE AUDIT, WE STRONGLY ENJOIN YOU TO REMAIN STRICTLY COMPLIANT WITH ALL REGULATIONS. TO THOSE FOUND NON-COMPLIANT, WE CHALLENGE YOU: IMPROVE, IMPLEMENT REFORMS AND SHIFT PARADIGM INTO ONE THAT HAS MORE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIENCE.

WE RECOGNIZE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE SO FAR, IN RESPONSE TO OUR PREVIOUS INSTRUCTIONS, AS SHOWN IN YOUR EARLIER PRESENTATIONS. WE URGE YOU TO SUSTAIN THESE INITIATIVES, OR BETTER YET TO IMPLEMENT MORE INNOVATIVE MEASURES, TO SHOW THAT THE MINING INDUSTRY IS RESPONSIVE TO THE ORDERS OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE SENTIMENTS OF THE PEOPLE.

WE IN THE DENR HAVE COMMITTEDTO DO OUR BEST TO HELP THE MINING INDUSTRY. WE EXPECT NO LESS FROM YOU. YOU SHOULD DO YOUR SHARE BY STRICTLY IMPLEMENTING ALL LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS ON MINING TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS.

THANK YOU AND MABUHAY!