Sunday, February 6, 2011

P-Noy suspends approval of large-scale mining applications

Malacañang announced yesterday that President Aquino has ordered Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to suspend all large-scale mining applications while the government reviews pending and inactive mining claims this year.

“The instruction right now from his office is not to accept new applications of mining claims since January this year,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, adding that there is now a ban on processing of mining claims.

“We believe that we need to enforce properly the mining regulations and mining laws. So that is what the DENR is doing, and will continue to do, to strictly monitor and strictly implement the mining regulations,” he said.

Lacierda noted that upon assumption to office, Paje promised that “he will clean the process of the mining claims.”

“There were 2,800 mining claims when he assumed office. Right now he has cancelled already 500 mining claims. He is also in the process of reviewing 500 more,” Lacierda added.

Lacierda said this has been one of the programs of Aquino even when he was still a senator.

The DENR has terminated more than 500 mining permits and applications that have remained inactive and incomplete in terms of requirements.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau records show that there are 2,180 mining applications presently pending in various regional offices.
Paje said the department’s regional offices have been given two deadlines – on Feb. 20 and December this year – to clear all pending and inactive mining applications for this year.

He said the clearing of “aging” mining applications is in line with the department’s anti-corruption program.

“We have to decide... what to do with all of these mining applications pending in our regional offices. Otherwise, the public will continue to perceive us as inefficient and corrupt,” Paje said.


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