BUSINESS tycoon Manuel Pangilinan welcomes the stricter audit of mining companies by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources and expressed confidence that Philex Mining Corp. will pass the audit.
Asked if he thinks Philex Mining can pass the audit of the DENR, Pangilinan said: “I believe so. We are ISO certified already so I think we welcome the audit. We believe we are compliant with the mining law so let’s see how this pans out.”
New DENR Secretary Gina Lopez has said that being ISO certified was not an assurance that mining firms would pass the audit and that the DENR would stay true to its commitment of detecting violators of environmental laws.
The Philex Mining chairman said he “agrees” with the DENR secretary and added: “If they (ISO certified firms) are violating certain laws, that’s for sure, I agree with her. We welcome the audit.”
On July 8, just a week after she assumed office, Lopez already suspended four violators who had been issued with a Writ of Kalikasan earlier: BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.
A Writ of Kalikasan is issued to protect the country’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. It is based on Section 16, Article II of the Constitution, which states: “The state shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
The DENR started the audit on mining firms on July 1. According to Lopez, it was mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Lopez, who has been a longtime anti-mining advocate, told mining companies before to “get their act together” in practicing responsible mining, saying that the “poorest areas in the Philippines are mining areas.”