February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Palace orders DENR to ensure safety net coverage for small miners


PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to regulate smaller miners more tightly to ensure their safety practices comply with regulations and that their workers are adequately covered in terms of social protections.

Mr Marcos gave the instructions at a meeting with DENR officials in Malacañang, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement.

“We want to legalize small mining companies because many of them are illegal and therefore miners have no protection,” he said. “We want to strengthen the regulatory framework so they can operate legally and we can offer our miners help and protection.”

“They may have access to funding (and) social protection,” he added, if they were brought under the purview of the regulator.

The OPS said the president could approve some artisanal mining bills, including amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 7076, to incentivize the industry and provide “welfare and labor protection and government assistance programs.”

Under RA 7076, the artisanal mining category refers to mines that rely heavily on manual labor, without the use of explosives or heavy equipment.

“I think right now there is a need for regulatory capability, especially for small businesses (miners),” the President told DENR officials.

Treasury Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said the mining industry could support the Philippines’ long-term expansion.

Separately, Mr Marcos cited the need to upskill and reskill seafarers in preparation for the expected transition of ocean-going vessels to green hydrogen between 2030 and 2040.

The President said Filipino seafarers would need additional training in the use of alternative fuels.

At the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), leading shipping organizations and major green hydrogen producers signed a joint declaration committing to the rapid production and use of low-carbon fuels based on green hydrogen at accelerated acceleration the decarbonization of global shipping.

The shipping sector is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions but is expected to grow rapidly without intervention. — Kyle Aristophere A. Atienza