The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) is mandated under the law to review all mining-related rules and regulations, issuances and agreements, and was ordered convened by President Duterte himself to discuss and reassess the audit done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that led to either the closure or suspension of operations of 28 mining sites across the country, according to a Department of Finance (DOF) official.
“The MICC is not a creation of any Department. It is mandated under Section 10 of Executive Order No. 79, which was issued by the previous administration, to conduct an assessment and review of all mining-related laws, rules and regulations, issuances and agreements,” Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said.
EO 79 was issued by then-President Aquino in 2012 to institutionalize and implement reforms in the Philippine mining sector and to provide policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the country.
Agabin recalled that during the Feb. 7 Cabinet meeting, President Duterte directed the DOF and DENR to convene the MICC on Feb. 9 and to invite the Solicitor General, the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and the Secretary of Justice to the meeting, so that they could comprehensively discuss the results of the DENR audit and DENR Secretary Regina Lopez’s recommendation to shutter 23 mines and suspend the operations of five others.