November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

MICC meeting this month to short-list mining experts’ panel

AFTER a hiatus following the rejection of former Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez by the Commission on Appointments in May, the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is set to meet again July 25 with the aim of coming up with a shortlist of experts who will review the status of all operational mines in the country.

“What’s on the agenda is the shortlisting of the possible members of the review team. And the other agenda item is the terms of reference in the engagement of professional services,” Mines and Geosciences Bureau Acting Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said in a phone interview over the weekend while confirming that the mining council is set to meet on that date.

Mr. Moncano said the MICC has compiled a list of people to be tapped and will select them on the basis of the earlier approved qualifications which disallow the inclusion of those employed, or involved with operating mines and/or any anti-mining group.

Selected experts should also have 10 years of experience in the technical aspects of mining or social development.

The MICC is seeking specialists in the law, social development, the economy, minerals and the environment.

The interagency subcommittee includes representatives of the Departments of Finance, Environment and Natural Resources, Labor and Employment, Energy, Social Welfare and Development, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The panel will evaluate the suitability of each potential expert.

Asked if the review of the 26 miners ordered closed or suspended by Ms. Lopez will hold to the three-month timetable, as initially targeted, Mr. Moncano said: “We’ll see.”

The MICC under Executive Order 79, is mandated to review the status of all operating mines every two years.

However, since 2012 when the order was signed, the council has met only this year to discuss the review, as ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte after Ms. Lopez moved to shut mines down due to alleged environmental violations.

Some half of the affected miners have filed a motion for reconsideration with the Environment department, which are now being reviewed, while half have addressed their appeals to the Office of the President. -- Janina C. Lim