Aquino misses mining policy target date

By Coco Alcuaz, ANC

Posted at Jun 22 2012 09:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2012 05:27 AM

Business groups waiting for EO

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino missed his second target for issuing an executive order on mining that miners and environmentalists have been awaiting for months.

In Davao on Wednesday, the President said he hoped he could issue the order by Friday.

But this afternoon, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said it would still be discussed by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.

"Sabi ni Secretary Paje, mag-mi-meet sila ni Ochoa this afternoon to discuss the mining executive order. No, it hasn’t been signed yet. Whether it will be signed at end of that meeting, I don’t know."

ABS-CBN learned the meeting proceeded but hasn’t been able to get Paje.

The President first talked about an executive order on mining in October last year, as provincial bans on open pit mining stalled projects, including the $6 billion Tampakan project in South Cotabato that is said to be the single biggest foreign investment in the country.

In January, Aquino said the executive order would be out by end of February.

The Makati Business Club said it hopes the order will be out soon.

"We learned informally it is still undergoing final fine tuning,” the organization said in a statement. “We hope the policy statement will be issued shortly and that our mining industry can move forward with a balanced, well-defined and stable policy environment."

The Management Association of the Philippines said it was anxious.

"We are anxiously awaiting the mining policy,’’ MAP said. “We support responsible mining and believe this country can benefit much from this industry."

European Chamber of Commerce President Hubert d’Aboville advised giving the government more time.

"We just have to be more patient!" he said.

Meanwhile, environmental activist Gina Lopez says she hopes the President sides with environmental organizations because mining hasn't brought the economic benefits it claims or promises.

She said the government should prioritize eco-tourism and agriculture.