MANILA, Philippines - The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) on Tuesday defended the revisions to the implementing rules and regulations of the mining executive order.
MGB chief Leo Jasareno said the revisions are more favorable to the government, contrary to reports the changes would benefit the mining companies.
"Itong amendment, lalong napabuti po para sa gobyerno," he told dzMM, referring to the revisions for Section 9 of the IRR.
The Chamber of Mines had opposed Section 9 of the original IRR, saying it was "patently illegal" and even threatened legal action against the government.
"Tiningnan ulit ng gobyerno kung mali or tama ang ginawa namin sa IRR. Sa bagong amendment, ang sinasabi ng gobyerno, kapag nag-expire ang 25-year contract at di nagkasundo sa terms and conditions sa panibagong contract, eh considered expired na ang mining contract. at pagexpired yan, papasok sa susunod na section, magbibidding na lang po. Hindi na automatic," Jasareno explained.
Under the IRR, the renewal of mining contracts after 25 years is not automatic. Mining contracts will be considered expired if the government and the mining contractor do not agree on the terms for renewal. The mining contract will be subject to public bidding.
Also under the revised IRR, renewals for existing contracts will be subject to existing laws. Under the original IRR, renewals would be subject to new terms and conditions.
Jasareno said that mining contracts that will be renewed will have to comply with the laws in effect at the time of the renewal.
"Kung ano batas na ipinasa na bago at time of renewal, kasama po kayo. Yun mga Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, kasama sila," he said.
The MGB chief also dismissed the Chamber of Mines' fears the mining EO will discourage investments in the sector.
"Quality investments ang habol natin. We don't mind ho if bumaba ang investments," Jasareno said.