20 Jan 2016

President Aquino lauds mining industry’s best practices
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday hailed the mining industry’s best practices during the presentation of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) to last year’s winners.

The PMIEA, which was established in 1997 through Executive Order No. 399, recognizes the outstanding commitment of mining companies for exemplar practices in mineral exploration, quarrying operation, surface mining operation, and mineral processing.

President Aquino, together with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, handed out the award to Silangan Mindanao Mining Corporation, Inc. (Mineral Exploration Category); Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (Mineral Processing Category); and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. and SR Metals, Inc. (Surface Mining Operation Category).

“These companies have performed well in protecting the environment, keeping their operations safe, and helping the communities in which they operate,” the President said in his speech before industry leaders at Malacañang Palace’s Rizal Hall.

“Your companies are embodiments of our belief that inclusive growth is the most potent philosophy—both in business and governance. Fostering good will in the areas that support your success is not only the right thing to do, it also ensures the sustainability of your operations, and secures the future of your firms,” the Chief Executive added.

With the government’s continued support, President Aquino said he is optimistic that the companies that finished as runners-up would get the major awards.

“Moving forward, our government will continue working with you, in the belief that it is through constant communication and cooperation that we will give rise to industries that are truly sustainable, inclusive, and profitable. You will remember how I signed Executive Order No. 79, which mandates a more equitable revenue sharing scheme, and helps ensure transparency and accountability in mining. In 2014, we also completed the go and no-go zone maps that indicate areas where mining is prohibited, such as prime agricultural lands and tourism development areas,” he said.

President Aquino thanked the mining companies for their cooperation and participation in government programs to minimize the impact of industry on the environment, particularly the forests.

“For instance, there is our Nationwide Anti-Illegal Logging Campaign, which we launched in 2011. Since then, we have reduced the number of illegal logging hotspots from 197 to just 23. We have confiscated 32.66 million board-feet of illegally cut and processed logs, and have used them to repair school buildings and construct school seats. There is also our National Greening Program, whose goal is to plant 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares around the country, and our honorable Sec. Mon Paje tells me that we are on track to reach this goal by this year,” he said.

President Aquino also urged the mining companies to continue and improve their work.

“I encourage you all to continue and improve your good work, and to continue your fruitful engagement with your communities and the government. Together, the Filipino people have already achieved so much in the past five years and seven months, and with partners like you, I am confident that, even as I step down from office, our nation will choose to tread the Straight Path, and give rise to a future where the Philippines can continue to stand tall, and reach heights never before seen,” said the President.

The PMIEA runners-up were Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation/Galeo Equipment Corporation; Holcim Philippines, Inc. – La Union Plant; Holcim Philippines, Inc. – Davao Plant; La Farge Republic Aggregates, Inc.; La Farge Republic, Inc. – Bulacan Plant; Eagle Cement Corporation; Minimax Mineral Exploration Corporation/ Agata Mining Ventures, Inc.; Cadiano Mining Corporation; and Apo Cement Corporation.

Recipients of the Best Mining Forest Award were Aglubang Mining Corporation and Alagag Mining Corporation; Holcim Philippines; Taganito Mining Manufacturing Corporation and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation. PND (jm)

President Aquino signs bill reforming ‘Sangguniang Kabataan’
President Benigno S. Aquino III signed last January 15 Republic Act 10742, which reforms the Sangguniang Kabataan for meaningful youth participation in nation-building.

The Act, known as the “Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015”, calls for the creation of the Katipunan ng Kabataan in every barangay, to be composed of all citizens residing in that barangay for at least six months, who are at least 15 years old but not more than 30 years old, and who are duly registered in the list of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

The Katipunan ng Kabataan shall elect the Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson and members; and serve as the highest policymaking body to decide on matters affecting the youth in the barangay.

The law also provides for the creation of the Sangguniang Kabataan in every barangay, to be composed of a chairperson and seven members who will be elected by the registered voters of the Katipunan ng Kabataan.

The Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, with the concurrence of the majority of the Sangguniang Kabataan members, shall appoint from among the members of the Katipunan ng Kabataan, a secretary and a treasurer.

The functions of the Sangguniang Kabataan include the crafting of a Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan, which shall serve as basis in the preparation of the Annual Barangay Youth Investment Program; approve the annual budget; promulgate resolutions necessary to carry out the objectives of the youth in accordance with the Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Plan; and coordinate efforts with the national government and private entities.

Also under the law, the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC) will be created in every province, city and municipality to ensure wide and multi-sectoral youth participation in local governance.

The LYDC will be composed of representatives of youth and youth-serving organizations in the provincial, city, and municipal levels. It will assist the planning and execution of projects and programs of the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The LYDC will be funded by their respective Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

There will also be in every province, city and municipality a Youth Development Office, to be headed by a youth development officer with the rank of at least a division chief.

Republic Act 10742, a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2401 and House of Representatives Bill No. 6043, was passed by the Senate and the House on November 4, 2015 and November 11, 2015, respectively. PND (as)