Instead of closure, Pampanga solon Arroyo wants more responsible mining standards
With the mining industry playing a major role in the growth of the Philippine economy, Pampanga 2nd District Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is interested in developing more stringent and higher standards for responsible mining as an alternative to wholesale closure of mines.
The lady politiko, in her House Bill 488, stressed she wants want standards set for responsible mining similar to those in developed countries like Canada and Australia to ensure protection of the environment.
“The Duterte Administration is not anti-mining. The Administration views the mining industry as a key player in the Philippine economy. Responsible mining plays a key role in the Philippines. The key word here is ‘responsible.’ You have to do it right. If you cannot do it right, then get out of mining,” Arroyo said.
Her bill entitled “An Act Prescribing Standards for Responsible Mining” is based on the draft released by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance based in Canada on April 5, 2016.
It sets standards for responsible mining including business integrity, social responsibility, environmental responsibility, reclamation and closure, and management systems.
Arroyo said all mining companies in the country should comply with all the mining laws including being transparent with information needed for communities to understand the fairness of their financial arrangements related to their operations.
They should protect and promote the health and safety of their workers and put in place an emergency preparedness and response plan to reduce the likelihood of accidents and emergencies and minimize the loss of life, injuries and damage to property, environment, health and social well-being if they occur.
Arroyo added that mining in conflict-affected and high-risk areas should ensure that they do not intentionally or unintentionally cause, contribute to, or benefit from human rights abuses or armed conflict.
“Security for mining projects shall be managed in a manner that respects, protects and promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she pointed out adding, “(w)herever and whenever mining development occurs, it shall proceed in a manner that respects and protects the cultural heritage of communities.”
Responsible mining, she also said, should ensure environmental protection which should include safeguarding water quality, water quantity, air quality and reducing green gas emissions and noise pollution.
A comprehensive and integrated mine waste management should also be put in place in order “to eliminate offsite contamination, and leave remaining mine features in a condition that brings about the least environmental and financial risk, and the most potentially useful land use, to future users,” the Pampanga solon stressed.
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