Palace asks for restraint ahead of mining EO release

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2012 02:21 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2012 03:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang has asked the public to read the executive order (EO) revamping the mining industry first before issuing comments.

“Perhaps it would be better to hold off any comments before seeing the actual EO and seeing what the provisions are,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with radio dzRB.

Yesterday, Malacanang announced that President Benigno Aquino III has already signed the long-delayed executive fiat that seeks to revamp the industry.

Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda refused to give details of the order, saying copies of the controversial reforms would be released on Monday.

"He has signed it. Next week, we will release it," Lacierda told reporters.

Before it could be released, however, many are already threatening to question it before the courts.

“Yung ating naging panawagan na hintayin po muna natin ‘yung paglabas ng mismong EO. Huwag po tayo munang makinig doon sa mga haka-haka, mga sinasabing nakalagay daw. Ngayon po, kapag naiprisinta na, basahin po natin, aralin po natin, at saka po tayo magbigay ng ating komento,” Valte added.

The order, originally due out in February, was intended to boost government revenues from the mining industry while addressing concerns of environmental groups and local governments that mining was causing too much damage.

Aquino was forced to postpone signing the order after mining companies complained it would scare away investors and make the country uncompetitive.

The mining industry has been closely awaiting the order, which is expected to clear up conflicting rules governing the sector.

Aquino had previously said the order would give the government a bigger share of mining revenues and would ban mining in areas deemed crucial for tourism.

The Philippines is believed to have some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world -- the government estimates the country has at least $840 billion in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, manganese, silver and iron.

However, the minerals have been largely untapped, partly because of a strong anti-mining movement led by the influential Catholic Church, while poor infrastructure and security concerns have also kept investors away. – with reports from Agence France Presse