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Environment officials stakeholders tackle the draft IRR

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and MGB Director Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano during the first day of the consultative meeting with representatives from mining companies. (Photo from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau)

Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) met with stakeholders in a two-day consultative meeting via Microsoft Teams on May 19-20 to tackle the provisions of the draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order (EO) No. 130.

Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in April this year, the said presidential order amended the provisions of Section 4 (Grant of Mineral Agreements Pending New Legislation) of the nine-year-old EO No. 79, “Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector Providing Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and Responsible Mining in the Utilization of Mineral Resources,” which imposed a moratorium on the granting of new mineral agreements in the country.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, DENR Undersecretary Jim O. Sampulna, DENR Assistant Secretary Nonita S. Caguioa, MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano, MGB Assistant Director Roland A. de Jesus, and MGB division chiefs led the panel to address and clarify concerns on the draft IRR raised by representatives from mining companies (Batch 1 – May 19); and stakeholders from non-government organizations, local government units, and the academe (Batch 2 – May 20).

Recognizing the challenge to the mining sector to faithfully meet the new requirements in applying for mining projects, Secretary Cimatu emphasized the need to fast track the finalization of the IRR to get the EO in action.

In an earlier statement, the DENR Chief also assured that there will be a thorough review of all mining applications before approval, and that additional environmental measures have been put in place to ensure balance in the environmental, economic, and social aspects of the mining industry.