By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), which is comprised of some of the country’s largest mining companies, will step up its efforts to wipe out all negative perceptions on mining even if it seems impossible.
“While I can speak proudly for our members, our problem is the thousands of illegal mining operations that continue to proliferate. Their destructive ways resonate more loudly than the ton of good work that our members do with the environment and their host communities. This is something that we must address,” COMP Executive Director Ronald Recidoro said.
According to him, the aim of the miners now is “not just to follow the law, but to do better.”
This, as they work on some changes in response to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for the industry to be much more responsible miners.
According to him, COMP will exert all efforts to address all the negative perceptions about the mining sector, starting with plans to fine-tune their Social Development Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) moving forward.
“We will fine-tune our Social Development Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to encompass not just environmental protection and social development, but more relevantly, also address climate change resiliency and adaptation. This is an imperative,” Recidoro said.
“We will also engage with developmental experts and agencies to make the SDMP a more potent and effective weapon to fight poverty,” he added.
Unlike other industries, mining companies are mandated to allot 1.5 percent of its operating cost to their SDMP which is meant to benefit their host communities.
This is on top of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund (CLRF) set aside for payment of whatever damage the mining activity may cause and for the progressive rehabilitation of mined out or affected areas.
Several other environmental funds are also required to be put up by the mining companies to address other environmental protection measures.
Apart from this, COMP will also continuously support and comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the country, which institutionalized transparency in the areas of revenue sharing and taxation.
“In the next few weeks, you will be seeing a reinvigorated Chamber of Mines, starting with a new Board of Trustees that will be armed with a fresh mandate. We will be more aggressive in communicating our environmental protection and social development activities,” Recidoro said.
“More importantly, we will increase our engagements with government and other key stakeholders, to hear their position and consider them in our advocacies,” he further said.
The three-day Mining Philippines 2017 International Conference and Exhibition concluded on Thursday, brought together the country’s major mining players, investors, and experts in the mineral sector.