Makati Business Club welcomes mining EO; worried by moratorium

By Coco Alcuaz, ANC

Posted at Jul 10 2012 09:24 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2012 05:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Makati Business Club (MBC) has joined the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) in expressing concern about an indefinite moratorium on new mining permits in President Aquino’s executive order on the industry.

The association said it welcome added clarity on areas where mining is prohibited, the initiative to improve revenue sharing and the affirmation of national over local laws.

But it said it’s worried about the continuing moratorium pending the passage of legislation rationalizing revenue-sharing schemes.

"MBC lauds the government's clear designation of `no-go’ zones for mining, the renewed drive for an improved sharing of revenues, and the emphasis on the primacy of national laws over local ordinances,” the group said in a statement.

“MBC expresses its concern over the continuing moratorium on new mining agreements pending the passage of legislation rationalizing revenue-sharing schemes,” it said.

The Management Association of the Philippines expressed the same sentiment yesterday.

“My worry is investors will be put on the sidelines for another one to two years," MAP President Ed Francisco said in a phone interview.

In its own statement, the Chamber of Mines was silent on the moratorium. On taxes, it just said it’s “committed to cooperate with the executive and legislative branches in developing a rational revenue-sharing scheme.”

The chamber and several of its members have declined to be interviewed, saying they’re still studying the executive order.

Section 4 of Executive Order 79 extends a 17-month moratorium on new permits until Congress revises mining tax laws, delaying possible investments.

Mining industry and business groups have been pushing for policies that would attract more investment in the industry, to tap an estimated $1 trillion of copper, gold, nickel and other metals.

But House Ways and Means Chairman Isidro Ungab says it will be difficult to pass the bill because lawmakers will soon be focused on elections next May.

“We must take into consideration that there is a midterm election next year and it is very difficult to muster a quorum when the campaign period starts,” Ungab said in a text message.