Mining body welcomes DENR priority program

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“We see valuable opportunities,” says COMP executive

THE mining industry, which is being rigorously audited by the government for compliance with environmental safety regulations, has welcomed the priority program designed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the entire six-year period of the Duterte administration.

DENR’s undersecretary for staff bureaus, Demetrio Ignacio, presented the program at the first organizational meeting of the House of Representatives’ committee on natural resources on Wednesday. It includes the enhanced National Greening Program (NGP); enhanced forest protection; responsible mining program; enhanced clean air act; the campaign for clean water; enhanced solid waste management; and protection of biodiversity to promote social enterprise.

“We see valuable opportunities for our members to continue helping government in its environment programs and beyond with this direction of the DENR,” said Nelia Halcon, the executive vice president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).

Reiterating the commitment to the government’s environmental protection and enhancement programs in line with its advocacy for responsible mining, Halcon said, “We wish to promote inclusive business to uplift more lives in our communities.”

She also pointed out that COMP members have been actively promoting NGP. They have planted over 20 million trees during 2011-14. If this initiative is translated to an average forest density of 500 trees per hectare, it will cover an aggregated area exceeding 40,000 hectares.

“We remain as one of the country’s largest private sector contributors to the NGP with our ongoing forestation efforts,” she stressed.

COMP members, will continue to partner with the different line agencies in their commitment to promote the welfare of the country and help government achieve genuine change, she added.

At the same time, in their respective mining jurisdiction, COMP members also practice coastal management to ensure the integrity of bodies of water near their operations and protect marine life. Several members are planting and maintaining mangroves in waters adjacent to their operations.

All “these, while we strive to give our community members clean and potable water through the establishment of water systems,” Halcon said.

Enterprises in mining communities, through the Social Development and Management Program, will be given a boost with the potential partnership of COMP, Department of Trade and Industry, and Go Negosyo.

Linking to enhance the SDMP of mining firms, the Mentor Me Program aims to help Micro, Small and Medium enterprises scale up their business through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners in different functional areas.

Inclusive business is a sustainable business that benefits low-income communities. It is a business initiative that, keeping its for-profit nature, contributes to poverty reduction through the inclusion of low-income communities in its value chain.

Meanwhile, the environment undersecretary, Leo Jasareno, who was formerly the director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said that all metallic minis in the country have now been audited and the findings will be announced next week.

To date, some 10 mines, 8 of which were nickel mines representing some 8 percent of the country’s total nickel production, have been suspended since the start of the audit on July 8.

The government regulator will commence auditing non-metallic mines this month.

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