MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte wants the current mining law repealed and replaced with provisions for higher taxes and rehabilitation, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Tuesday.
"Ang idea ng presidente, ang nakuha ko sa message niya kahapon, sa mga statements niya before the SONA, gusto niyang maglabas ng bagong batas sa mina, overhauling the current mining regime," Pimentel told radio DZMM.
He added that the President wants to increase taxes on mining companies if a total mining ban will not be implemented.
He said Duterte also wants mining companies to make sure that the environment will not be destroyed by mining activities.
"Habang nagmimina pa sila, pangalagaan nila ang environment at ang mga taong apektado at pagkatapos ng end of contract nila, end ng term ng mining, i-rehabilitate ang lugar," he said.
"Actually, pwede ngang hindi na maghintay sa end. Habang nagma-mining pa sila, ipakita na nila na kaya na nilang i-rehabilitate kasi mahirap yung after the end of the term, sabihin nilang hindi pala nila kaya," he added.
Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address, warned mining companies that he would tax them "to death" unless they restore the "virginity" of exploited areas. He added that he would use revenue from mining taxes to help host communities that were left "in agony."
First Metro Asset Management president Gus Cosio said taxing the mining industry is "fair" because mineral resources are the "patrimony of the country and there should be equitable sharing of the benefits of these."
However, he also said that there had been problems in implementing this rule in the past, such as smuggling.
"What’s more important to me is how they can fix this, how they can monitor this, how they can prevent all these leakages," he told ANC's Market Edge.
"I think one thing that the President wants is a proactive citizenry. If it’s happening in Palawan, he said that you can text, et cetera. People should be more proactive, more vigilant if they’re going to help the government in improving the mining taxation," he said.