Gov’t to declare more mineral reservation areas soon—DENR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has announced that additional mineral reservation areas throughout the country may soon be declared to help provide equitable access to mineral resources and generate additional non-tax revenues for the government.

Undersecretary for Mining Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said the DENR, particularly its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), is now in the process of identifying “mineralized areas and high mineral potential areas, including all existing operating mines,” for declaration as mineral reservations.

In fact, she said, certain sites have undergone the process prescribed by law and are ready for endorsement to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for declaration as mineral reservations, pursuant to Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act.

“The law provides that when the national interest so requires, such as when there is a need to preserve strategic raw materials for industries critical to national development, or certain minerals for scientific, cultural or ecological value, the President may establish mineral reservations upon the recommendation of the MGB Director through the DENR Secretary,” Teh pointed out.

Teh issued the statement in the wake of news reports regarding an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) Regional Office XIII on the alleged failure of the DENR to collect almost P2.6 billion in royalty fees from five mining companies in Caraga region.

The AOM stated that royalties should have been imposed against the mining companies since they extract mineral resources that are owned by the government.

However, Teh clarified that the present mining law requires payment of royalty fees only in areas declared as mineral reservations.

“The five mining companies mentioned in the COA report are operating outside the Surigao Mineral Reservation Area. Thus, the permits granted to them do not contain any provision for them to pay royalty,” Teh explained.

Teh said that all actions of the DENR and MGB on the matter were “in accordance and consistent with existing laws and regulations.”

To address the concerns of the COA and the government in general, to generate more revenues from the mining industry, Teh said the DENR is looking at the declaration of more mineral reservations to include sites where the five mining companies operate, as a solution.

The DENR, she added, also proposed to the Department of Finance to include the imposition of royalty fees on mining firms operating outside mineral reservations in the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law.

“Should an amendatory law be passed, the imposition of royalties on mining operations outside mineral reservations will be applied prospectively,” Teh said. ### 

Reference: Undersecretary Benny Antiporda
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NSWMC OKs solid waste mgnt plans of 16 LGUs

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) approved on Tuesday the 10-year solid waste management (SWM) plans of Quezon City and 15 municipalities in Luzon in compliance with Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

NSWMC is the major agency tasked to oversee the implementation of appropriate SWM plans by local government units (LGUs) as mandated by RA 9003.

The commission, chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), approved the respective SWM plans of the 16 LGUs covering various years from 2014 to 2027, during its en banc meeting held in Quezon City.

The mayors of two towns in Ifugao province were present to receive copies of the resolutions approving their SWM plans. DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda handed down copies of the NSWMC resolutions to Mayors Martin Habawel Jr. and Glenn Prudenciano of the municipalities of Lagawe and Alfonso Lista, respectively.

According to Antiporda, the approval of the SWM plans of the two municipalities signified their commitment to abide by the provisions of RA 9003.

“The Commission has given its approval because the plans are doable and include detailed actions for the next 10 years,” Antiporda said.

Antiporda particularly cited the ordinances passed by the towns of Lagawe and Alfonso Lista, saying these are “testaments that they will adhere to their SWM plans and will allot appropriate funding for it.”

“It is also a confirmation that they will abide by the ‘No Segregation, No Collection Policy,’” he added.

Aside from the two Ifugao towns and Quezon City, the NSWMC also approved the SWM plans of the towns of Dilasag, Dipaculao and San Luis in Aurora province; Mallig, Isabela; Bacnotan, La Union; General Nakar, Quezon; Mangaldan, Pangasinan; Angat and Guiguinto in Bulacan; and Bongabon, General Natividad, Guimba and Talugtog in Nueva Ecija.

Antiporda said the NSWMC has made it easier and faster for LGUs to secure approval for their SWM plans provided they comply with all the requirements provided for in the law.

“We may be quick in filing cases against erring mayors but we are also quick in providing them technical assistance. We want to make it convenient for all LGUs to comply with all the requirements so that they can easily prepare their SWM plans,” Antiporda pointed out.

He also assured that the DENR, particularly the Solid Waste Management Division of the Environmental Management Bureau, will closely monitor the implementation of the approved plans.

Antiporda said LGUs are encouraged to come up with a good system on recycling, composting and disposal of solid wastes.

Improper or non-implementation of an approved SWM plan could lead to its cancellation and filing of charges against concerned local officials. ### 

  

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