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40 governors to challenge Aquino’s mining policy

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has claimed at least 40 anti-mining governors will challenge the Aquino administration’s new mining policy before the Supreme Court once President Benigno Aquino III signs it.

Local government executives will oppose the mining policy because it shall put them in an adversarial position to the national government.

Furthermore, it would also dismiss their autonomy and independence in favor of national laws and regulations on the mining industry according to the Albay governor.

“It will breed inequality of income and assets, it will destroy the countryside. It’s definitely anti-rural, that EO is anti-LGU,” Salceda said.

He also noted that at least 40 provinces have passed its ordinances that restrict, regulate or oppose mining, pointing out especially to metallic mining and large-scale mining.

The executive order could not invalidate their ordinances against mining. If the order was signed with this provision, local government executives would definitely go to the Supreme Court to strike it, he said.

“An executive order does not destroy an ordinance, they have to bring it to the Supreme Court to do a short cut. That executive order will not make our ordinances disappear because they are articulation of democratic aspirations,” he explained.

Salceda said Malacañang knew of their opposition to the mining policy. This could be the reason why the President has not signed it yet, he said.

President Aquino was supposed to sign the executive order last Friday (June 22). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initially planned it to be issued in the early part of 2012.

The original plan was to have a comprehensive mining policy that would spell out new regulatory and tax rules for the mining companies that will improve the revenues received by the government from mining.