BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) disclosed the country’s mining sector is now demoralized because of the inability of the government to effectively and efficiently handle the audit results of the mining companies operating in the different parts of the country which resulted in uncertainty among foreign investors.
Louie Sarmiento, PMSEA president, said the environment department miserably mismanaged the audit results which cast doubts on the integrity and credibility of the overall audit conducted on the different operating mines in the country after it was highly publicized.
“We were surprised why the audit results landed in the hands of the media before the notices were issued to the concerned companies which were found to have deficiencies in their operations. It has to be made clear that no company has yet been suspended as of date,” Sarmiento stressed.
The PMSEA official underscored if the government was able to properly handle the situation, it could not have gone out of control because the companies should have been first notified of their identified violations before the results were published by media so that they should have been given the chance to immediately respond to whatever deficiencies that were noted by the members of the audit team.
According to him, the uncertainty among foreign investors caused by the mishandling of the audit results has significantly affected the sustainable operation of various companies relying on their foreign partners for their long-term operations, thus, the need for relevant government agencies to help bring back the credibility and integrity of the audit results.
He added it was highly publicized some companies were recommended for closure but up to date, the concerned companies have not yet received formal notices of their violations so that they can also respond to the deficiencies that were found by the audit team members in their operations.
Sarmiento claimed some companies have also sought the assistance of the PMSEA for the processing and issuance of their respective ISO-1400 certification on environmental management compliance to prevent their operations from being suspended by the environment department considering that their compliance to environmental standards is one of the major components of the mine audit.
Based on the audit results, 20 mining companies were recommended by the audit teams for suspension for their alleged failure to comply with certain standards while 11 mining companies are still subjected to continuous monitoring by the concerned government agencies.
Sarmiento remains optimistic that government through the concerned government agencies and the mining industry will be able to patch up the gap created by the mishandling of the audit results to help bring back the vibrance of the mining industry in the country which suffered a serious setback right after the wrongly-timed publication of the results that caught the concerned mining companies by surprise.