MANILA - The Department of Finance (DOF) agrees that the results of the upcoming review of mines being organized by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will be purely recommendatory.
"I agree with the statement earlier of [Environment] Sec. Lopez that the MICC review process is recommendatory," said Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin in an interview with ANC.
Agabin said it will still be up to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to decide whether to accept or reject the MICC's review.
Mining firms can appeal their case to Lopez or to the Office of the President, Agabin said.
Lopez and Agabin attended the meeting of MICC earlier today to discuss the composition of the team that will undertake the review.
Agabin said that members of the team will come from different stakeholders, and will be unbiased either for or against mining.
Lopez said the MICC study will be more "in-depth" than the audit earlier conducted by the DENR.
Agabin said the mining operations will undergo a technical, legal, social, economic and environmental review.
Lopez said she reiterated her position that social justice should be part of any assessment of mining operations.
"As long as there's a commitment to social justice I have no problem with that," Lopez said.
Lopez had ordered 28 mines shut or suspended for violating environment safety rules. She also insisted that she will not make any compromises.
"Don't get back to me with any decision on anything citing some rule or regulation and at the end of that, it turns out people are going to suffer more. I'm not going to accept it," Lopez said.
Lopez also expressed confidence that President Duterte will reappoint her after getting bypassed by the Commission on Appointments two weeks ago.