DENR cancelling 75 mineral production sharing agreements
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said on Tuesday that she is cancelling 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSA) found on the watershed areas in the country.
"I have rocked the boat," said Lopez, in a press conference at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Quezon City, before announcing the "cancellation of MPSAs in watershed areas."
Lopez ordered last week the closure of 23 mining sites and suspension of five others, causing strong criticisms and opposition from the mining industry, led by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
According to Lopez, of the total 75 MPSAs, which she ordered to be cancelled, 37 came from Mindanao, 11 from Visayas, and 27 from Luzon.
Under Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, MPSA is an agreement where the government grants to the contractor the exclusive right to conduct mining operations within a contract area and shares in the gross output. The contractor shall provide the financing, technology, management and personnel necessary for the implementation of this agreement.
Asked if the DENR's move will worrying investors, Lopez said she would rather have them leave the country and choose another destinations if they would only destroy the environment.
"I would prefer they go away...we don't need investments that are rapist-intended," Lopez said.
She said those 23 mining projects which she ordered closed has seven days upon receipt of the DENR order to appeal before the Office of the President.
She reiterated he multi-stakeholder review created by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will only be recommendatory as her order stays.
Lopez and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III co-chair the MICC.
Lopez said she would issue show cause orders until Wednesday to all 75 contractors issued with MPSAs, asking them to explain why their projects would not be cancelled.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he might approve the closure of the mining projects after seeing the devastation on the mountains of Surigao del Norte when he flew over in the area to visit the people affected by the magnitude 6.7 earthquake on Friday night. Celerina Monte/DMS