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Cimatu to inhibit on MICC decision

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has decided not to participate in the deliberations on open pit mining.

The interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will decide today whether the ban on open pit mining will stay or will be lifted. This comes nearly seven months after former Environment chief Gina Lopez ordered the ban on the open pit mining method.

“I’m still thinking whether I will attend or not because I would like to inhibit. They will be voting upon it,” Cimatu told reporters on the sidelines of the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Conservation of Migratory Species.

“If ever I go, I will just listen but I will not vote. I don’t like to vote on something that I will eventually decide on,” he added.

The MICC decision remains to be recommendatory to DENR. However, Cimatu could not give a timeline as to when he plans to issue a final decision after he receives the MICC recommendations.

The DENR has already become dependent on the multi-sectoral body on matters concerning the mining industry.

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In fact, it was Cimatu who brought up the open pit ban issue to the MICC even if he has all the administrative power to overturn Lopez’s order in April.

For the past few months, the MICC has been convening with the Technical Working Group on Economic Affairs and Environment to discuss the technicalities of the open-pit mining method.

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