‘Responsible’ mining to get Binay support

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A Binay presidency will support mining as long as it is done responsibly.

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During his keynote speech at Mining Philippines 2015 International Conference and Exhibition at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City (Metro Manila) on Wednesday, Vice President Jejomar Binay expressed support for promoting environmentally and socially responsible mining, adopting the constitutional principle of balancing interests over the long-term.

“Responsible mining practices should be encouraged. Irresponsible mining practices must not only be discouraged but must be outlawed,” Binay said.

A presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, he added that mining taxes that would be imposed should be fair and consistent with international standards and higher than they are at present.

The Vice President said while the mining industry could be “the biggest contributor to the Philippine economy and could be the key driver toward industrialization and jobs creation and the development of the countryside,” it has remained in the “doldrums and subjected to touch-and-go policies and the whim of authorities with regulatory capture over the industry.”

“In fairness to previous administrations, the mining industry has been accorded due attention during their terms. But under the current regime, based on the industry’s own assessments, the industry is in limbo,” he noted.

“In fact, as the Chamber [of Mines of the Philippines]noted, mining has been excluded in 2012 from the government’s investment priorities plan, resulting in the removal of all investments incentives, except for those provided by the Mining Act and National Internal Revenue Code,” Binay said.

The Vice President said even with the lifting of a moratorium on issuance of exploration permits in 2013, only one new exploration permit has been granted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

If he will win in next year’s polls, he said, his administration would focus on further improving the climate for doing business in the country “by honoring contracts and by not changing the rules midstream.”

“If elected President, we will take the steps needed to move [Public-Private Partnerships] faster. As a first step, we will actively push for the approval of pending bills in Congress, such as amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, Right-of-Way Bill, and address other bureaucratic inefficiencies that have stood in the way of project implementation,” Binay added.

“My long experience in local governance has taught me the importance of continuity, predictability and sustainability,” he said.

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