Alernative Policy Solutions for the Mining Issue in the Philippines
Policy Alternatives on
the Mining issue in the
BY: LAWRENCE LERIAS
1.1 Situational Analysis
A number of countries such as Canada, Brazil, Chile, Australia grew their economies because
Mining is a great economic booster. By attracting Foreign Direct Investments, Government can
earn from the Mining Industry (excise tax) and at the same time create jobs right in the door
steps of local communities.
However, for the past years that mining activities had been in operation, no substantial benefit
for government and the local community has been realized.
Instead of development and positive benefits, government was left to deal with environment
degradation and rehabilitation of local communities.
The dilemma in the Mining Sector is as broad as it is intertwined with corruption in government,
economic development and cultural impact in local communities.
1.1 Situational Analysis
What brought about the problem?(Cause)
What brought about the issue is the public clamor for government
to address the problem of;
Social injustice to local communities/indigenous people
Corruption in government regulation/monitoring
Lost revenue potential due to inefficient government policy
Inequality in the playing field of mining sector (private
1.1 Situational Analysis
What is the necessity of solving the issue? (Effect/Impact)
Government should address the issue with urgency to;
Prevent further deterioration of environment.
Bring about community development to affected areas of mining
activities. Prevent alienation and abuse of indigenous
Promote development of the mining industry.
(To realize the potential of responsible mining as an economic
1.2 Stakeholder Analysis
Who are the people/sectors involved?
Due to the relevance of the Mining Industry to our National Development, many are involved
and affected with this issue. Hence, urgency is needed from the government to come up with
the correct Public Policy.
LARGE SCALE MINING COMPANIES
• They are the investors (of billions of Pesos) who will be greatly affected
by government policy. They took the risk in investing with prospects of
• They entered into a contract with government to pay excise tax,
provide social services to the local community, and rehabilitate the
environment where they are extracting.
• Informal miners that are relatively small relative to Large scale miners.
• A good number of small-scale miners are illegal, and proliferates due
to backing of local politicians.
How are they involved?
How are they involved?
Local Community/Indigenous People
•The local residents of the area of mining activity.
•They are the recipients of the social service the government
mandated the large scale miners to provide with.
•Jobs in the mining are created for them.
The Government Bureaucracy
•Both national and local governments will be revamped to
•More stringent policy means stricter procedures in regulation, and
aggressiveness in support and promotion of the mining industry.
1.3 Alternative Policy Solutions (APS)
What course of action and/or policies should be
pursued to address the problem?
APS # 1
• Total Ban on Mining Industry.
APS # 2
• Enact a new law.
APS # 3
• Maintain Status quo.
1.4 Criteria: Efficiency and Cost-Benefit Analysis
What courses of action/policies should be pursued to address the problem?
APS # 1 TOTAL BAN ON MINING INDUSTRY
With the disasters of Marcopper Mining in Marinduque and Philex Mining
in Benguet. It is safe to say that Government have been negligible in the
regulation of the Mining Industry.
In 2006, the former UK Secretary of State for Overseas Development,
Clare Short, MP, lead a fact-finding mission to the Philippines and these
are some excerpts from their findings:
“(The Philippines), In its attempts to woo foreign direct investment, appears
willing to circumvent its own laws protecting the environment and human
rights and reduce standards below acceptable international practice…”
“The Philippines has relatively strong laws designed to protect the
environment, communities and indigenous peoples.
The reality, however, is that where investments are concerned the
law is too often viewed as a mere technicality to be overlooked or
Human rights abuses and misreporting are clearly associated with
some current mining activities. It is of concern that those
in government and international agencies seem to lack the capacity
or inclination to challenge and end such misconduct.”
From these findings, we can conclude that for years, the Philippines has
not benefitted from mining activities and is now worse because of it.
Corruption is a serious problem in the Philippines and it can be
expected that plans for extensive mining operations in remote areas
requiring regulation and monitoring will make it worse.
A total ban on Mining will ensure its efficiency. No amount of
corruption can circumvent a policy on total ban on mining activity.
The cost for the government for a total ban is enormous. Loss of income
from taxes from mining companies, and the potential of economic
growth brought about by mining exploration.
The benefit would be the preservation of the environment, the security
of food supply for the upcoming generations and that is unquantifiable.
APS # 2 ENACT A NEW LAW
Brazil, Chile, Australia and Canada all saw their economies grow thru
mining. It can bring wealth and jobs to the country.
Chamber of Mines President, Philip Romualdez, argues that the mining
sector recorded an outflow of P10Billion in mining investments since
2011(because of EO79) and will lose another $4Billion in investments if
there will be a total ban on mining .
Repeal RA 7942, Mining Act of 1995. Enact a new law more stringent in
regulation of the mining industry, that would protect the interest of
local communities and the environment.
Institutionalize a system of transparency with participation of NGOs
and reputable independent private organizations to further regulate
the mining industry.
Define the focus of DENR as the protector environment and regulator
of the Industry while DTI as promoter, supporter and encourager of the
The efficiency of this alternative policy depends on how much
government is willing to be transparent. Corruption plays a major role in
the delivery of government services. Many can be said how much
deviance can go in the regulation of the mining industry. It all bogs
down to political will and leadership.
The cost for government is high. With corruption at all levels of
government we can assure that a good number of politicians will try to
circumvent law to earn kickbacks from mining. There is a good chance
this would fail if not managed properly. And we would be left with a
The benefit for the economy should this be successful is worth the risk.
With responsible mining, we can bring in wealth to the country, create
jobs in rural areas, provide social development and management
programs for the local community. Add to that the technology transfer,
management skill and foreign link exposure the industry would be
APS # 3 MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO
Extend EO 79, which suspends the Mining industry at its present state. No new
mines will be allowed to open.
Devote further time in research, in order to formulate a more viable solution.
We can wait until government bureaucracy has done away with corruption.
We should defer extensive mining indefinitely. The National patrimony will
always be there. Let the next generation decide what to do with it.
Efficiency of this solution is already in effect.
The cost for government is the loss in potential income that should have been
earned, the loss of jobs that should have been created, and the loss in
opportunity for rapid economic growth.
The benefit is viable as it allows our denuded environment to recuperate. This
policy solution will give us more time to come up with the correct approach to
enforce compliance from mining companies.
APS EFFECIENCY COST BENEFIT
1. TOTAL BAN ON
VERY EFFICIENT HI-COST HI-BENEFIT
2. ENACT NEW
HI-RISK SHOULD IT FAIL HI BENEFIT
IT WILL COST US OUR
QUO (EO 79)
EFFICIENT HI COST HI BENEFIT
1.5 POLICY RECOMMENDATION
The cost benefit analysis all has the same weight. The costs are
high, the risk is great, but the gains are worth it.
Although the prospects of opening the country to extensive
mining are good. We cannot undermine the previous
experiences of environment disasters and human rights abuses to
our own indigenous people.
A new law does not guarantee efficiency in the mining industry.
But we cannot totally shy away from the advantages of a strong
The national patrimony would always be there waiting. We should
wait for the right time to extract it. Let’s wait for the right time
when the government becomes politically mature, so the
majority of the population would benefit. .
We cannot totally ban mining as it is hypocritical, according to
Peter Wallace. Every new technology is due to mining,
computers and cellphones included.
Opening the country to extensive mining is a high risk gamble. We
should not gamble the future of the next generation. We should
enter into extractive mining when we have full control in
regulation and monitoring. The time when we can see responsible
mining companies comply to international standards and
practices in mining, that would be the day.
Therefore it is recommended that we Maintain Status Quo until
such time that we can address the major issue of corruption.
Extend EO 79 until the time, that we can see momentum in
leadership and political will.