About a year after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2017-07 that mandates “mining contractors to participate in the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”, the said DAO has begun to be implemented by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
In the wake of PH-EITI’s fourth reporting cycle, the MGB formally requested for a list of the companies that did not participate in the exercise and later issued show cause orders to these companies, 14 in all, for noncompliance with the DAO.
During the 50th MSG Meeting held at the Philippine International Convention Center on March 9, the matter was a subject of discussion, with a number of issues raised by some members.
On the necessity for implementing rules, DOF Undersecretary and PH-EITI Chair Bayani Agabin commented that the DAO is self-executory, that is, there is no need for implementing guidelines for the DAO’s penalty provision to be enforced.
Bantay Kita National Coordinator Tina Pimentel, on the other hand, saw a need to define or qualify what “compliance” with the DAO is, citing as an example the question of whether late reporting still constitutes compliance.
Other members pointed out that the problem may have to do with the timing of the issuance of show cause orders. They opined that the same should perhaps be done while the country report is still being consolidated, not after its approval by the MSG, to enable the concerned companies to seasonably comply.
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Executive Director Atty. Ronald Recidoro agreed with Usec. Agabin that the DAO is complete in itself, but he also thought that the timing of the show cause order must be reconsidered.
For MGB’s part, Engr. Romy Aguilos said that the Bureau is determined to strictly follow the DAO’s provisions, including the penalties. He mentioned that issuing up to three show cause orders to violators is a matter of due process. He explained, however, that they can determine non-compliance only after the report is done.
Considering all the inputs of the MSG members, Usec. Agabin directed the Secretariat to work with MGB in improving the processes and timelines of the DAO implementation.
DAO 2017-07 was issued “to institutionalize transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources... strengthen the monitoring of the mining sector and pursue responsible mining in the country”. Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of PH-EITI “shall cause the suspension of the pertinent Environmental Compliance Certificate or ECC, and non-issuance of Ore Transport and/or Mineral Export Permit until such time that the said contractor has complied with the PH-EITI requirements”. The DAO also mandates the MGB and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to “disclose all the information requested by the PH-EITI in a timely manner”.