Bantay Kita is greatly dismayed and disheartened by the issuance of Executive Order 130, lifting the mining moratorium (Section 4 of Executive Order 79 s. 2012). This new executive order has taken many stakeholders by surprise and to our knowledge was issued without any prior consultation with relevant stakeholders.
EO 130 cites the increase of the excise tax from 2% to 4% (as contained in RA 10963 aka “TRAIN law”) as the justification for the lifting of the moratorium. This minor increase in excise tax is not the type of “[rationalization of] existing revenue sharing schemes” that was contemplated by EO 79. Bantay Kita believes that to be true to the spirit of EO 79, and before the lifting of the moratorium can even be considered, reforms in the fiscal regime of mining such as an increase in mineral royalty payments, the imposition of windfall gain tax, and the scrapping of unnecessary incentives should be enacted for a more fair economic contribution from the extractive industry.
Furthermore, reforms in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 are urgently needed to ensure proper management and governance of our mineral resources, address social and environmental mining issues, and fully respect the rights of local communities, indigenous peoples, and local government units to approve or disapprove mineral extraction.
We call on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, along with relevant government agencies such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, to conduct a comprehensive review of existing mining contracts and agreements. Such review should include genuine stakeholder consultations with local government units and mining-affected communities.
We urge the Department of Finance and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to actively support legislation rationalizing revenue sharing schemes and mechanisms that are fair and equitable, considering the one-time nature of mineral resource extraction.
Lastly, we urge the President to reconsider EO 130 and declare as urgent reforms in the mining fiscal regime to ensure a more equitable, transparent, and fair revenue sharing scheme and mechanism.
Bantay Kita, its partners, and communities will continue to be vigilant. We will continue to monitor mining operators and hold them to the principles of transparency and accountability.