PCCI joins opposition to Zambo Norte ban on open pit mining PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 17:16

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) yesterday expressed its support for the call by various sectors for the repeal of Zamboanga del Norte’s local ordinance to ban open pit mining.

Provincial Ordinance ZN-11-128, otherwise known as “An Ordinance Protecting and Conserving the Integrity of the Land, Water and Vegetative Resources of Zamboanga del Norte” intends to ban open pit mining in the province starting next year, affecting mining firms previously allowed to operate in the province.

In a statement, PCCI acknowledged efforts of provincial legislators to protect and conserve the natural environment. However, PCCI argued that certain provisions of the ordinance contravene the national mining policy as embodied by Republic Act 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995].

Aside from contradicting national policy, the PCCI pointed out, the local ordinance “undermines the effort of revitalizing the industrialization of our country – a key economic fundamental being pushed by the national business chamber.”

The PCCI pointed out that “the imposition of inconsistent policies and rules is never good for business as it provides a very unstable ground for business growth. Such volatility will scare away investors from our country.”

Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development (Phils) welcomed the statement of the PCCI.

PCCI support, according to TVIRD president Eugene Mateo, “ is a very clear indication that the ordinance passed by the Zamboanga del Norte government lacks the support and endorsement of not only the thousands of Subanons in the province but by the business community as well.”

According to Mateo, “the Zamboanga del Norte government should realize by now that there is a groundswell of support against the ordinance and the next best thing to do is to repeal this invalid and unconstitutional legislation.”

TVIRD, Mateo said, is heartened by the snowballing of support from PCCI, the Coalition of Responsible Miners in Mindanao (Coremin2) and the Chamber of Mines (COMP) in its fight against the Zamboanga del Norte ordinance.

TVIRD maintains that the ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Norte, runs counter to the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

The ordinance, TVIRD said, “unilaterally impairs duly executed and existing agreements and contracts between TVIRD and the National Government.”
“We are fighting not just to protect the interest of TVIRD but also to protect the interest of thousands of the Subanons who will be adversely affected by the implementation of this ordinance,” Mateo said.

During the 37th Philippine Business Conference held this year, PCCI included mining among the key industries that are being looked at to propel the Philippine economy to greater heights.

President Aquino has declared his support for responsible large-scale mining operations and at the same time cautioned that a mining ban would result in the “spread of small scale mining operations that would be difficult to check due to their number.”