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Binay agrees to support responsible mining if elected president

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday expressed support for the mining industry, which he said could be the biggest contributor to the Philippine economy.

“I am for promoting environmentally and socially responsible mining, adopting the constitutional principle of balancing the interest over the long-term. In this regard,  a Binay presidency shall support mining as long as it is done responsibly,” Binay said in his keynote speech during the Mining Philippines 2015 Conference & Exhibition at Solaire Resort in Parañaque City.

Binay said the mineral potential of the Philippines were among the largest in the world, with about 14.5 billion metric tons of metallic minerals and about 67.66 billion metric tons of non-metallic minerals valued at $1.4 trillion.

Vice President Jejomar Binay (second from left) and Chamber of Mines of the Philippines president Benjamin Philip Romualdez (left) view mining equipment exhibited at the Mining Philippines 2015 Convention, shortly after addressing delegates and members of diplomatic corps at Solaire Resort’s grand ballroom in Parañaque City. EY ACASIO

“The mining industry could be the biggest contributor to the Philippine economy and could be the key driver towards industrialization and jobs creation and the development of the countryside,” Binay said.

Binay said the mining industry could improve the communities where the projects are located through the strict implementation and enforcement of mining and environmental laws.

“As the Chamber of Mines declared, mining and biodiversity conservation can co-exist. Yet, despite this, mining industry has been subjected to catch and go policies,” Binay said.

Binay said under the current regime and based on the industry’s own assessments, the industry was  still in limbo.

President Benoigno Aquino III issued Executive Order 79 in 2012, which forbid the signing of new mineral agreements until a new mining revenue sharing scheme was legislated.

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council approved last year a higher tax on the mineral industry, representing 10 percent of the gross sales or a 55-percent share in net revenues.

The new revenue sharing scheme, however, remains pending at the House committee on ways and means.

“ In previous administrations, the mining industry has been accorded due attention during their term. We must ensure that mining taxes that we implement are not already higher than they already are but fair and consistent with international best practices,” Binay said.

Binay also expressed concern over the government’s proposal to increase the tax rate on mining, saying this might affect the competitiveness of the local mining industry.

“The government’s push to increase revenues through the imposition of even higher taxes on mining is a concern particularly for the long-term these may have on the industry’s competitiveness,” Binay said.

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