MANILA - A Cabinet oversight body on Thursday said it would create a "multi-stakeholder review" of mining operations in the country following the environment department's decision to shut or suspend 28 mines.
The resolution of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) did not say what will happen to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez's ruling, but acknowledged that the department audited the industry "which may merit the suspension or closure of certain operations."
The document issued late Thursday after a five-hour meeting was signed by Lopez and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. The two officials co-chair the MICC.
The multi-stakeholder initiative will "review and advise the DENR on the performance of existing mining operations in consultation with local government units."
"Those found guilty of violating mining contracts, laws and regulations, after observance of due process, shall be meted the appropriate penalty under relevant laws," according to the resolution.
Workers who will be affected or displaced by any mining suspension or closure will be assisted by the government through a livelihood and employment transition plan, it said.
Lopez earlier said she would “not cop out” in her fight against mining that destroys the environment and places the poor at a disadvantage.
She also said only a “miracle” could convince her to reverse her decision to ban mines in watersheds.
Mining companies have the option to appeal the closures before President Rodrigo Duterte and the courts, she said. -- with reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News