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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is bent on cleansing the mining industry of “wang-wang” or undesirables prior to resuming the granting of mining permits in the country.

At the same time, DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is recommending to President Aquino a new approach of awarding mining tenements to deter corruption.

“Consistent with the instruction of President Aquino, the DENR will resume the granting of mining permits only after we have fully cleansed the ‘wang-wang’ in the mining industry,” Paje said.

The DENR, through the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB), has already issued 500 permits. Some of these permits are being used for speculative trading or sold to other companies, without generating revenue for the government.

“This is not the kind of mining we want to encourage. The government is allowing mining operation in the country because we want to generate revenue for the government and the Filipino people and to fuel the country’s economic development,” Paje stressed.

The DENR chief acknowledged that the current revenue sharing in mining is not favorable to the government.

“The two percent excise tax, which is the share of the government according to the Mining Act, is not enough to pay for the environment cost considering the fact that mining is an extractive industry. This is the reason why the DENR is pushing for the payment of five percent royalty by mining companies,” Paje said.

He also proposed to Malacanang the abolition of the current scheme in awarding mining permits which is through the “first come, first served” basis. In lieu of this, he recommended that the awarding should be done through tendering/bidding.

Paje stressed that through this approach, discretion and corruption in the awarding of mining tenements will be eliminated.