Frequently Asked Questions on Executive Order 79 (Mining Reform)
What are the benefits of Executive Order 79?
The Executive Order:
• Sets the policy framework
that will guide government and other stakeholders in the
implementation and operationalization of mining laws, rules and
regulations. It also provides concrete steps and solutions to major
issues and concerns of the mining sector.
• Sets the direction and
lays the foundation for the implementation of responsible mining
• Aims to improve
environmental mining standards and increase revenues to promote
sustainable economic development and social growth, both at the
national and local levels.
What was the process in involved in the drafting of Executive Order
In October 2011, a mining
study group was constituted, which included the Executive Secretary
and several members of the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Input from different
stakeholders were obtained, including those from the following: mining
companies and allied industries and services; environmental CSO/NGOs;
church groups (e.g., CBCP, Association of Major Religious Superiors of
the Philippines); members of the academe; LGUs (e.g., major LGU
leagues and other local government officials); different government
agencies concerned with mining (i.e., through the Climate Change
Adaptation and Mitigation and Economic Development Cabinet Clusters.)
Numerous studies, positions
papers and commentaries were also secured and considered by the Study
Group and the Cabinet Clusters. All the recommendations and input
received were considered in the drafting of the provisions of EO 79.
Does the EO call for a ban or moratorium on mining?
No. Existing mining
operations and those with approved contracts before the effectivity of
the EO will not be affected, and the government will respect the
agreements it has entered into, provided that they comply with
existing laws and rules and the new mandates and directives of the EO
and mining policies, and that these existing mines are not in areas
expressly prohibited by existing laws, in which case appropriate
action for violators will be undertaken.
EO NO. 79 identifies
specific zones closed to mining applications, either for contracts,
concessions or agreements. These include:
• Areas in the National
Tourism Development Plan
• Critical areas and island
• Prime agricultural lands
covered by RA 6657
• Strategic agriculture and
fisheries development zones and fisheries development zones and fish
refuge and sanctuaries declared as such by the Department of
• Areas already identified
under the existing laws on mining, agrarian and protected areas, as
well as in sites that may be determined by the Department of
Environment and natural Resources (DENR)
Under the EO, no new mining
operations will be approved in Palawan, consistent with the following:
• Existing laws such as RA
7942 (Mining Act) and RA 7586 (NIPAS Act)
• Critical areas, island
ecosystems, and impact areas of mining that will be declared by the
DENR based on existing laws, rules and regulations
• The ecological uniqueness
of Palawan’s flora and fauna and the need to protect the same is
• RA 7611 or the Strategic
Environmental Plan for Palawan calls for the protection of Palawan’s
environment and natural resources
• Recognition of its
potential for other forms of investments (eco-tourism such as the
Puerto Princesa Underground River)
While existing mining
operations will be allowed to continue, the government will be
suspending the granting of new mineral agreements until existing
mining laws are amended.
Mineral Agreements, as
provided for in the Mining Act of 1995, are any of the following: a)
Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA); b) Joint Venture
Agreement (JVA); and, c) Co-Production Agreement (CPA). The Mining Act
also provides for Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA)
that the government may enter into. These agreements usually include a
permit to explore for mineral deposits as part of the provisions and
privileges granted in the contract in preparation for possible mining
Amendments to mining laws
will allow for the rationalization of existing revenue-and
benefit-sharing schemes and incentives given to mining companies to
ensure that the country benefits from the rich mineral resources in
its territory. The additional revenues will allow government to have
additional funding for other social services such as education and
health, in addition to having funds for measures to mitigate the
impact of mining on the environment.
While the granting of
mineral agreements has been suspended, Exploration Permits may still
be granted by the DENR.
An Exploration Permit is an
authority granted by the DENR-MGB to allow a person or entity to
conduct exploration for minerals in a specified area. This is limited
to exploration works only and does not include authority to conduct
actual mining or extraction of minerals. However, those who are
granted Exploration Permits and who actually discover minerals shall
be given preferential option in the grant of a mineral agreement
should they wish to pursue the same.
Why can’t the government enter into new mineral agreements since
amendments to the existing mining laws have yet to be legislated?
Entering into mineral
agreements now in the absence of amendments to mining laws will bind
the government to possible 25- to 50-year terms that will not give us
maximum benefits from the mineral resources. This will allow future
administrations and future generations to realize the full benefits of
mineral resource utilization and not be bound by decisions and
agreements made in the past.
What will happen to existing and pending applications for mineral
Pending applications for
mineral agreements will not be granted and approved by the DENR-MGB.
These may, however, be converted into Exploration Permit applications
to allow them to conduct initial exploratory work.
Why did the law impose only a 2% excise tax on mining?
The 2% excise tax on mining,
implemented through a revision of the National Internal Revenue Code,
was meant to spur and attract mining investments in the country at a
time when mineral prices were down and the industry was at a
stand-still. The current rate needs to be reviewed to allow the
government to maximize returns from mining, and legislation should
explore the possibility of providing flexibility in the imposition of
excise tax rates through a progressive tax system similar to what is
implemented in other mining countries.
What is the impact of the new EO on current government mining
Current revenues from mining
will be maintained since the EO allows existing mines and operations
to continue. In fact, because of other revenue-raising measures in the
EO and directives, mining revenues should increase despite the
deferment on the grant of new agreements as provided for in the EO.
Is there already a draft bill/legislation on these revenue measures?
The DOF has been crafting
the proposed legislation to rationalize the revenue and benefit
sharing-schemes and incentives given to mining companies. The DOF is
also considering inputs from an IMF Technical Assistance Study and
mission on mining taxes and fees in the Philippines. Once finished,
the Administration plans to prioritize the passage of this legislative
What measures were put in place to address the country's economic or
• Establishment of Mineral
Reservations for strategic mineral reserves to be able to collect 5%
additional royalties, or higher (Sec 5, EO)
• Opening of mining areas
through competitive public bidding (Sec. 6, EO)
• Disposition of abandoned
ores and valuable metals in mine wastes and mill tailings (Sec. 7, EO)
• Value-adding activities
and development of downstream industries (Sec. 8, EO)
• Demand operational and
financial reports from both large- and small-scale miners at all
stages of the mining cycle (Directives to MICC)
• Conduct of verification at
the national, regional and local levels of taxes and fees payable and
monitoring of all entry and exit points of minerals in the country
(Directives to MICC)
• Fast-track release and
access of LGUs to their share from mining revenues (Directives to MICC)
• Updating of mineral
commodity profile and database on new products, markets and available
technologies (Directives to MICC)
• Conduct a study on
existing mechanisms for benefit sharing and review of existing taxes,
fees and incentives receive by mining companies (Directives to MICC)
• Study the terms and
conditions of service contracts entered into by the Department of
Energy (DOE) for energy resources for possible application for mining
agreements (Directives to MICC)
• Study the imposition of
higher export fees for metallic and non-metallic minerals in the
country (Directives to MICC)
• Consider tapping 3rd party
international auditors to validate the volume and value of mineral
exports from the Philippines (Directives to Good Governance Cluster)
• Increase mine wastes and
tailings and occupation fees and impose processing fees for all mining
applications (Directives to DENR)
• Provide benchmarks for the
valuation of minerals based on prevailing international minerals
market prices (Directives to DENR)
• Prepare and maintain
revenue baseline data and properly account for all taxes and fees
generated from mining (Directives to BIR)
What specific legislative measures will the government pursue in light
of the EO?
The following steps will be
studied and undertaken for inclusion in the legislative measures:
• Rationalization of
revenue-sharing schemes and mechanisms and incentives given to mining
• Bigger LGU shares from
mineral resource utilization and providing better mechanisms for the
faster release of their share
• Stiffer penalties for
• Possible inclusion of
medium-scale mining among the categories of mining
• Stronger regulatory rules
over traders and middlemen to improve mineral production monitoring
and collection of taxes and fees from mining
What measures were put in place to address the impact of mining on the
• Stricter enforcement of
environmental laws and rules, and holding violators accountable (EO
and Directives to DENR)
• Identifying additional
areas closed to mining
• Review of the performance
of mining operations and cleansing of non-moving mining rights holders
(Sec. 3, EO)
• Assess and improve
small-scale mining conditions (i.e., establish minahang bayan, enforce
compliance with environmental impact assessment requirements, limit
mining to specific metallic minerals, prohibit the use of mercury)
(Sec. 11, EO)
• Use of integrated maps and
Programmatic Environmental Impact Assessment (Sec. 16 and 17, EO)
• Proper accounting of
Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programs (EPEP) of mining
companies (Directives to DENR)
• Use of geo hazard and
multi-hazard maps and climate change forecasts in determining “go” and
“no-go” areas (Directives to DENR)
• Explore use of mandatory
and compulsory insurance coverage for mining affected areas and
adoption of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and
Liability Act of the USA (Directives to MICC)
• Resource accounting or
full-cost benefit analysis (Directives to MICC)
What are the benefits of opening areas with known and verified mineral
resources and reserves for mining through competitive bidding?
The public bidding of the
granting of mining rights and tenements over areas with known and
verified mineral resources and reserves will allow the government to
negotiate for better terms in mineral agreements and allow it and the
public to maximize potential benefits from mining. In addition, public
bidding will ensure transparency and allow the State to deal with
legitimate and serious mining investors and developers.
The specific parameters for
the public bidding will be provided for in the IRR, taking into
consideration existing best practices in current government bidding
procedures and the principles of transparency and accountability.
The old procedure was simply
done on a first-come, first-served basis, in that whoever applies or
files first for an application for a mineral agreement or mining
tenement; then he or she will exclude all others from that area
applied for. This procedure allowed speculators to flourish, giving
authority to sit and do nothing with their applications to the
detriment of those who seriously want to pursue mining operations, and
of the government for lost revenues and benefits for the people.
Are indigenous people’s rights vis-a-vis mining protected by the EO?
Yes. The EO reiterates the
State policy on the recognition of IP rights (Whereas clause, EO) and
the NCIP has drafted and issued its revised guidelines for the FPIC
process. Close coordination with the NCIP will be undertaken to ensure
its proper conduct and implementation for the benefit of all concerned
stakeholders. In addition to this, the NCIP, DSWD and the DENR are
directed to ensure that the social preparation for IPs to be affected
by mining will be conducted (Directives to DENR, DSWD, and NCIP).
Complete cultural mapping to
identify IP areas will also be undertaken to complete the ancestral
domain delineation process.
Aside from tackling issues related to large-scale mining, does the EO
address the concerns of small-scale mining?
Yes. Several measures were
undertaken to address the issues concerning small-scale mining. These
• Reiteration of RA 7076 as
the governing law in small-scale mining
• The constitution and
operationalization of the P/CMRBs to ensure the proper management and
regulation of small-scale mining operations
• The establishment of
Minahang Bayan to provide specific and exclusive areas for small-scale
mining to avoid overlaps and conflicts with other mining rights and
• Small-scale mining of
metallic minerals shall be limited to gold, silver and chromite since
these are the most suitable for artisanal methods, which do not use
equipment, machinery and explosives (the definition of small-scale
mining per RA 7076 refers to mining activities which “do not use
explosives or heavy mining equipment”)
• To help small-scale miners
and to recognize them as a formal sector; training and
capacity-building measures in the form of technical assistance will be
conducted by concerned agencies.
How does the EO reconcile the roles of the national government and
LGUs with regard to mining?
• The National Government
shall coordinate and cooperate with the LGUs in ensuring the proper
implementation of mining related laws, rules and regulations,
especially as regards small-scale mining
• Concerned government
agencies are directed to study possible legislation increasing LGU
shares from the utilization of resources and to provide mechanisms to
hasten the release of their shares through proper coordination between
and among agencies
• The P/CMRBs will help LGUs
properly regulate small-scale mining and provide an appropriate forum
for the different stakeholders
• LGUs shall be a part of
the MICC to ensure that their position and concerns are heard
What is the major role of the DILG in the implementation of the EO?
Sec. 12 of the EO directs
the National Government, through the DILG, to work with LGUs to ensure
that local ordinances are consistent with and conform to national
laws, issuances, and policies, to ensure the proper implementation
laws such as the mining act. Local ordinances should at all times be
consistent with the Constitution and national laws and Sec. 12
recognizes the need for national laws and local ordinances to be
harmonized to ensure the proper management and regulation of the
Will local ordinances against mining be overturned/annulled/voided by
the Administration pursuant to this Section 12 of the EO?
No, provided that they
comply and are consistent with national laws, rules and regulations.
If found to have violated
the law, the process of challenging an issuance through the courts
will be pursued by the appropriate authorities. In addition, dialogue
between the NG and LGUs will be crucial to avoid local ordinances
being challenged in court.
My life is empty
[Full of text of speech
delivered by Myrna Reblando during a discussion with journalists on
“How the Prevention of Torture Promotes the Freedom of Expression and
Journalism in Asia” held on June 25, 2012 at the Foreign
Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong]
Good afternoon everyone.
First, thank you all for coming to listen and to hear our stories.
I am Myrna Reblando, widow of Alejandro “Bong” Reblando. He is one of
the 32 journalists murdered in the Maguindanao massacre. He writes for
the Manila Bulletin, Reuters and Associated Press. Many people knew
about this tragedy, but only few had extended help. Among the few are
you: the journalists.
By writing stories and telling others about our loved ones, stories of
ours and their families and our aspiration for justice, you also guide
us in our struggle. What I have said in the past and what I would have
to say now would not be effective had you not write about them.
I know I have a right to freedom of expression. We all should have.
For my part, I am not a journalist like you. I am the wife of a
murdered journalist who was silenced, who could no longer express his
ideas and opinion. I am here with you to also use the tool that my
husband has had: a freedom to express ones opinion, in pursuit of
justice for him and others.
I fought to uphold this value and principle in many forms.
Inside the court rooms, I could remember in one of those hearings, the
judge had asked me to leave because I cried during court hearings. She
and others wants me to leave because they do not want to see me crying
inside the court, again. I strongly insisted to stay to hear the
trial. I told her that I did not kill anyone, I only wanted to listen.
What can I do? I cannot hold my tears to fall down because of
In my interviews with journalists, what I speak is the truth, I speak
my mind, I speak my heart and I never had any pretensions. To speak
what is truth has had a heavy cost on me, my family and my children;
however, I have also realize that not to speak the truth threatens our
aspirations to obtain justice.
For over a year, I was in hiding. In this period, my life is empty. I
felt that my person is useless and that I only think and secure
myself. I felt that those who had threatened me had achieved what they
wanted: to silence me, to push me back. I know that I could do
But to speak and not to speak, is where I had the dilemma. I am ready
to die; however, I cannot put the life of my children at risk. I am
their mother. I should be the one protecting them; I should be the one
giving them protection. They have only me now; but I am not even with
them now as we speak.
Two years ago, I first came here as a guest speaker of the Foreign
Correspondents’ Club for their Human Rights Press Award. I received
the posthumous award on behalf of the murdered journalists. At that
time, I was not prepared. I was not able to explain clearly about what
happened to my husband and others.
Before, I could speak freely and I thought I had freedom and
protection. But now I am a person who is being hunted for what I have
spoken and without protection even from my own Philippine government.
Yes. I decided to leave my country because for person seeking remedies
and redress in our system of justice, like me and many countless
others, had no protection.
I am deeply thankful to the Government of Hong Kong for giving me
protection, food and providing me shelter. Thank God now I am here
alive, however, I could hardly imagine on how many occasions I was
close to death in the last two years. I did not feel protected, even
with my own security escorts.
In pursuit of justice, for me and my family the cost had been very,
very heavy. I lost my livelihood, I cannot go home and the people whom
I know could not provide me shelter when I needed the most. They fear
of getting involved, even my own relatives and friends.
When I took the responsibility of being the vice chairperson and
spokesperson for Justice Now! Movement, a group of families of the
massacre victims, I know that it is a tough job. To speak on behalf of
those who are frightened and those who could not – because of
oppression, fear and absence of protection – is a position that is
alarming and dangerous.
For those who choose to take this role in my country, most of them are
all dead now; others are struggling to stay alive. One of those dead
is Jessie Upham, one of the witnesses of the Maguindanao massacre. He
was murdered before he could testify in court.
I had been, and hope to again be, very vocal and bold to attack all
the wrongdoing evil of our government. It is sad that our government
cannot protect their own citizens, especially those people living in
rural and depressed areas. But I still hope that someday we will have
a government that is able to lead and serve its own people better, to
make us proud and for us to have peace in our country.
I did not live my life in vain. My person means a lot to me. I see my
new role very, very interesting. I was not bitter despite of all the
trials that come into my life. I strive hard to make the most of it. I
reflect and study my surroundings to hear the wisdom of other people.
I gain strength from them, too.
To express freely in pursuit of justice is possible. It is so where
there are people who are willing to listen and hear;
Where there are people who picks from where others had left;
Who will speak for those who could not speak because they are
oppressed and frighten;
Where people and groups lends their place, their time, with an open
heart and mind for us – the people who are hunted for what we have
spoken – to give us an opportunity to speak and express our opinions;
To all of us who are here, you never forget; we should and must not
forget. You listened to and heard us.
thank you all for being here with us.
Persons of criteria
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
July 3, 2012
This is what we have to aim at – to be persons of criteria, based on
truth and charity – so that whatever situation we may be in, we would
always feel confident and certain that what we are thinking, saying
and doing is right and good, is helping us and others to reach our
common good, both temporal and eternal, material and spiritual.
To be persons of criteria is to be persons who know how to distinguish
between right and wrong, good and evil, fair and unfair, the essential
and the incidental, etc. Criteria as a term comes from the Greek word
“krineo” which means to sort out, to separate, to distinguish.
In short, to be persons of criteria is to be persons who affirm,
strengthen and develop their being persons not things, able to think,
judge and reason out properly, and not just doing things mechanically
or following things blindly.
They know how to distinguish the many elements and possibilities that
go into any situation, and more importantly, know how to judge, how to
choose what is truly good and wise for themselves and for all. In this
way, they enhance their own freedom and joy, even if they have to ride
out temporary difficulties and pains.
Persons without criteria are those who just follow the law of the
jungle, who drift to an anything-goes type of lifestyle, allowing
themselves to be dominated by feelings and passions alone, or social
trends and fashions, not by reason, and much less by faith.
They seem stuck in some invincibly subjective condition, in a gripping
state of self-absorption, detached from the objective, universal law
that comes from God, our Creator and Father.
We have to be wary of our tendency, due to our weaknesses and other
consequences of sin, both personal and social, to abort our growth
into a mature person by ceasing or restraining in our lifelong effort
to be persons of criteria, of correct convictions.
Nowadays, we even have public figures who not only have wrong
criteria, but also flaunt them. They are, in fact, making aggressive
action to proselytize others to their mistaken values. Worse, there
now are countries that legalize and institutionalize these anomalies.
The world is getting very exciting and challenging. That’s another way
of saying, it is sinking into more complex and complicated situations,
with deep and vast confusion if not error reigning supreme.
Sad to say, aside from not giving any serious effort to correct this
problem by studying, there’s also the trend to come out with
half-baked ideologies that precisely give inadequate if not erroneous
Among the many things thrown into confusion in our world today are the
questions about the existence of God, his abiding providence, the
essence and role of law in our life, the essence, origin and purpose
of our freedom and its intrinsic relation to obedience to God’s will.
Also many things related to our human nature are getting distorted if
not totally ignored. That we are spiritual beings with a supernatural
end, and not just material and social beings, that our reason and will
are in need of a firm foundation found only in faith and charity, that
our emotions should not be on their own but need to be directed by our
reason and faith – these are a few examples of what we are not clear
about these days.
In the end, we have to realize that for us to be persons of criteria,
we need to be vitally linked to the living God, making use of the many
and more than abundant instrumentalities made available to us.
We have the faith, we have Christ and his doctrine and example, the
Holy Spirit who continues to abide in us, making God alive in us here
and now, the Church with her sacraments and the various charisms to
address all types of needs we have, etc.
We should not just depend on our rudimentary sense of good and evil
that comes when we reach the age of reason or which is mainly
dependent on social and cultural trends. Our sense of good and evil
that makes us persons of criteria should be based on our living
relationship with God, or on our faith.
It is faith that widens and deepens our understanding of things. It
brings us to higher levels and aspects of reality not usually
accessible to our senses alone, or even to pure reason. It brings us
the spiritual and supernatural realities of our life.
To be persons of criteria means we have to live with God by faith and