Benguet SSM cry on “excessive” capitalization provision of Revised IRR of People’s Small-Scale Mining Act; MGB moves to reclassify small-scale mining

Provincial

Pocket miners in Benguet cry on the “excessive” capitalization provisions of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 (RA 7076) and joined other groups of SSM across the country in urging the government to amend some provisions of the law.

Section 10 (Art III) Application to Enter into a Small-Scale Mining Contract (SSMC) states:” The authorized capitalization for an application for SSMC shall be P10-Million with a minimum paid-up capital of P625,000.

“Applications with incomplete mandatory requirements shall not be accepted,” the law further stated. Local small-scale miners have asked government agencies concerned to understand their plight withstanding the impact brought by the pandemic.

Earlier, responding to the clamor of pocket miners nationwide, the national government passed a (new) law exempting small-scale gold miners from excise and income taxes when selling to the country’s central bank. The move was intended to boost the country’s domestic gold reserves and global economic standing.

Despite the measure which was hoped to facilitate a more stable and profitable market for both traders and miners, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) admitted that the decade-old “black-market” selling scheme continues to flourish.

This practice is mainly because sellers are attracted by the high buying price being offered. Moreover, pocket miners complained of too much government “bureaucracy.”

MGB submits amendments in a related development, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director lawyer Wilfredo Moncano, in an exclusive interview during a recent mining stakeholders’ consultative forum, revealed that his agency has already submitted to Congress some proposed amendments of RA 7076, particularly in the reclassification of SSM like into a –pure artisanal (mano-mano) and regular which allows them to buy “equipment’s.”

“It needs a law, and we hope it will be acted expeditiously,” Moncano pointed. Legalization of Small-Scale Mining

“This program of legalizing the small-scale mining sector is one of the priority programs of the government. It is not only our part in the MGB but for the whole DENR, because we recognize -and we call them informal, and they are also entitled to benefit to the mineral resources of the country,” said Moncano, stressing provisions of the Constitution.

“For the longest time (SSM) they have not been formalized…they were not granted permits, that is why our first step is to legalized and after legalization, the government will provide –technical training, marketing assistance and financial support.”

They wanted to move forward,” said Moncano, adding that collaboration among SSM and government is vital.

Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB)

The MGB official also pointed out the role of the PMRB. He said the PMRB is created to implement small-scale mining-by deliberating and crafting policies which can help in the expansion of SSM.

Primo Agatep/ABN