President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (E.O.) No. 130 on April 14, 2021 to allow the government to enter into new mineral agreements and grant and issue exploration permits.
"In addition to ushering significant economic benefits to the country, the mining industry can support government projects, such as Build, Build, Build Program, by providing raw materials for the construction and development of other industries; and the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program, by increasing employment opportunities in remote rural areas where there are mining activities thereby stimulating countryside development," the E.O. said.
It amended the former Aquino administration's E.O. 79, which prohibited new mining agreements until a new legislation takes effect to rationalize revenue sharing schemes. Duterte's E.O. cited Republic Act. No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act which increased excise tax on minerals, mineral products, and quarry resources.
It said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources also reviewed the regulatory framework of the mining industry and amended policies to enhance environmental safeguards.
The review came after the late environment secretary Regina "Gina" Lopez four years ago, in February 2017, ordered the closure and suspension of 28 mining companies. (SEE: Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?)
— PCIJ, April 2021