From upper left clockwise: NEDA-CAR Regional Dir. Susan A. Sumbeling (upper left) opened the webinar, which was attended by at least 85 participants from government line agencies, SUCs, and the NEDA management and staff (upper right). Atty. John Ray Libiran (lower right) and Dr. Sheila Siar of PIDS (lower left) engaged the participants in the open forum, which was facilitated by Ms. Belinda Lucas (lower middle) of NEDA.

The Cordillera National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) held the webinar “Policy Brief Preparation for Sustainable Mining Industry Practices” on September 27, 2023. This activity supports the observance of the 21st Development Research and Policy Month (DPRM) and the Regional Development Week (RDC) Week which is celebrated every 4th week of September every year.

NEDA-CAR Regional Dir. Susan A. Sumbeling opened the activity saying “that the mining industry, which is a sensitive development concern for the Cordillera, should strike a balance between economic benefits and its environmental and social consequences. The mining industry could serve as an excellent subject for the exercise on writing policy briefs since this can be used as a means of presenting the summary of issues, policy choices, and recommendations”.

On the basics of policy brief writing, Dr. Shiela Siar of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) emphasized that a policy brief should not be an editorial or an opinion article, but based on facts. This should also be concise to help decision-makers make decisions quickly.

Atty. John Ray Libiran, Dean of the College of Law at the University of Baguio, reported that mining has one of the lowest contributions to national economic growth, accounting for less than one percent of the country’s economy. He shared the review results of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which include insufficient to no climate mitigation and adaptation programs, problems with FPIC and royalty payments, short-lived impacts of social development and management programs, the miniscule share of LGUs from taxes, and challenges in sustaining economic gains from mining activities beyond the mine’s life, to name a few.

Among the policies to address the findings are the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) MC No. 2018-02 “Guidelines for Compliance Monitoring and Rating/Scorecard of Mining Permits/Contracts”, and MC No. 2020-01 “Guidelines for Care and Maintenance Program for Mining Projects”, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) DAO No. 2018-19 “Guidelines for Additional Environmental Measures for Operating Surface Metallic Mines” among others.

The Cordillera Regional Development Council, as the highest policy-making body in the region, affirms that research is a vital tool for fact-based policies. To this, the DPRM is observed to recognize the vital contribution of policy research to national development and nation-building by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 247 in 2002.  The RDC Week is also observed per Presidential Proc. 1164 in 1998 to commemorate the establishment of the RDCs as the key structure for regional planning and for integrated local planning and investment programming to contribute in national development.