When we conducted the first audit of the mining firms last year, the 16 teams who conducted the audit was well-represented, with some of the 10-12 coming from the different bureaus of the Department, some of the members coming from the concerned government agencies, the Social Action Center of the local parishes, and the civil society organizations.

Technical experts from the different government offices that have been invited to conduct the audit all abide in the standards of truth, service, and the common good. This means they know what they are doing and have followed the due legal process that needs to be done.

We based the checklist of the criteria for the audit on the items in compliance with the different mining and environmental laws. A cross-audit was also done, which means that the auditors who reviewed one site, have come from a different region.

We also gave seven days for the companies to respond to the results of the audit, providing a leeway for them to clear the issues that were raised. We had to review the reported results of the audit for five months before we have to release it, ensuring that we followed the process meticulously.

My issue here is not about mining. My issue here is social justice. If there are businesses and foreigners that go and utilize the resources of that area for their benefit and the people of that island suffer, that’s social injustice.

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 be always anchored on integrity, social justice, and the common good. ###