Following Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Regina Lopez’s refusal to publicize the actual documents of a mining audit that led to the closure of over 20 mining firms in the country, firms are demanding to see documents.
“In the spirit of transparency and due process, the PMSEA exhorts the DENR to release the results of the mining audit to clear any doubts and air of suspicions,” Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) president Louie Sarmiento said.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said that there is a need to look at the basis of the closure and suspension of the mining firms.
“The executive branch has been advocating transparency in its policies and programs and on this basis, we feel we have the right to know the process involved and the results of the audit,” COMP chairman Artemio Disini said.
“What’s important here is the decision I made as Cabinet secretary, not the recommendations. I don’t want to show it to you whatever it may be,” Lopez told the press on Thursday.
DENR has ordered the closure of 23 mining firms, and the suspension of five large-scale firms after a six-month long audit.
“Just leave it already, I’ve made my decision. I’m under no obligation to let you know what’s happening here,” Lopez added.
Jobs on the line
Disini told The Inquirer that the closure and suspension placed 67,000 jobs on the line, with around P6.66 billion annual production expected to be lost. The government is also set to lose P16.7 billion worth of taxes.
Senator Francis Escudero urged the DENR to follow due process on the mining audit, and allow the affected companies to respond to the result before ordering the shutdown.
“They probably should have furnished the affected firms and even to the Senate the audit findings to see if there is basis to the closure orders,” Escudero said in an interview with DWIZ radio.
“It appears that the mining companies were not given a copy of the audit findings so that they could respond, correct, dispute or come up with remedies if necessary,” the senator said.