SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is keeping her promise to support the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte, including the ban on open pit mining.
At yesterday’s hearing of the Committee on Ways and Means, Arroyo clarified that the House is anti-open pit mining, which is also the stand of President Duterte.
According to Arroyo, while the mining industry got a boost during her presidency in 2004, she believes and respects the decision of the President to ban it.
The former Speaker assailed Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez for saying that it is her priority to ban mining.
“Excuse me, I’m the one who opened up the mining industry in 2004 and it is my priority to kill the industry?”
“So he is the President (Duterte), and as Speaker, I must take him at face value unless I have another communications to the opposite,” she added.
Arroyo said the ban on open-pit mining will be included in the bill establishing the fiscal regime for mining industry.
The bill deliberated on by the committee contains provision imposing excise taxes on non-complying mining tenements until they follow the guidelines for additional environmental measures for operating surface metallic mines issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“That’s the amount that we will charge for open-pit mines until such time that they become no longer open-pit within the period prescribed by the DENR,” Arroyo said.