The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assures the mining sector and the general public that "due process was meticulously observed" in the audit of all existing metallic mines in the country, the results of which will be known on February 2.
"We assure the industry and the general public that due process was meticulously observed in the mining audit conducted by the agency and that the results would really promote the common good and social justice," the DENR said in a statement.
The DENR made the assurance a week before releasing the final results of the industry-wide audit, particularly on the 30 mining companies that failed the initial audit conducted by the agency last year.
DENR Secretary Gina Lopez is scheduled to announce on February 2 the final report and recommendations of the audit team created to review the compliance of mining firms to environmental laws and regulations.
It was Lopez who initiated the mining audit, taking a cue from President Rodrigo Duterte, who in his first State of the Nation Address last July ordered a review of all permits granted to mining, logging and other similarly environmentally sensitive activities to ensure compliance with government standards.
The President also said that if warranted, the DENR may amend, suspend or revoke those permits.
A staunch advocate of responsible mining, Lopez has made it clear that the common good and the protection of the environment would be her paramount concern, not money.
"There is a need for evaluation to see if these companies are complying with the laws. Responsible mining means people should not suffer," Lopez said as soon as she assumed the DENR post in July 2016.
Barely a week at the DENR, Lopez ordered an industry-wide audit to look into the adequacy and efficiency of environmental protection measures taken by the mining companies, determine gaps in those measures and identify the appropriate penalties for violations of mining and environmental laws.
Of the total 41 metallic miners reviewed by the DENR, only 11 of them "passed" the initial audit while the remaining 30 were either suspended or recommended for suspension for failing to meet environmental safety standards.
The mining audit focused on safety and health, mine environmental management, social development, mining tenement, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, hazardous waste, and solid waste.
Among the major findings of the team were violations of the terms and conditions of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2010-21, or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and DAO 200-98, which refers to Mine Safety and Health Standard. ###