Senator Sonny Angara said the recently passed green jobs law will help create employment opportunities for displaced miners in the wake of the closure of 23 large-scale mining firms in the country.
During the Senate labor committee hearing on the employment transition plan following the closures, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez said the agency will develop the areas previously occupied by the mining firms into ecological zones which, she said, can create more jobs.
Lopez said the affected mine workers will be hired for the rehabilitation of mine sites, and will also be tapped for reforestation activities.
Angara said such jobs fall under Republic Act 10771 or the Philippine Green Jobs Act, which was signed into law in May last year.
The law aims to create more eco-friendly jobs in the country by granting incentives to companies generating “green jobs” or jobs that contribute substantially to the preservation and restoration of the environment and natural resources.
“Sa tulong ng batas na ito, muling makakapaghanapbuhay ang mga mawawalan ng trabaho sa minahan. Bukod sa masisiguro natin ang kapakanan ng mga manggagawa, makatutulong pa tayo sa rehabilitasyon ng kalikasan,” said Angara, who sponsored the law.
Under RA 10771, green jobs specifically refer to jobs that help “protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials and water consumption through high-efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.”
Among the incentives business enterprises may enjoy include a special deduction from the taxable income equivalent to 50 percent of the total expenses for skills training and research development expenses, and tax and duty free importation of capital equipment.
“Every one wants a meaningful job–one that does not only provide livelihood for his or her family, but a job that contributes good to the world as well. The Green Jobs Act clears the way for Filipinos to have access to these jobs,” Angara added.
Meanwhile, during the same hearing, Executive Vice President Nelia Halcon of the Chamber of Mines revealed that there are 19,000 workers who are directly employed by the affected mining firms.
These mining sites are located in Zambales, Eastern Samar, Dinagat Island, and Surigao del Norte. Lopez said the DENR would transform these areas into ecological and economic zones in order to generate employment, livelihood and income-generating activities.