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Miners Association of the Philippines, Inc. vs. Hon.

Factoran Secretary of Environment & Natural


Resources, and MUYCO, Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, January 16, 1995

Digest:

Facts :

Former President Corazon Aquino issued EO Nos 211 and 279 in the exercise of her legislative
powers. EO No. 211 prescribes the interim procedures in the processing and approval of
applications for the exploration, development and utilization of minerals pursuant to Section 2,
Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. EO No. 279 authorizes the DENR Secretary to negotiate and
conclude joint-venture, co-production, or production- sharing agreements for the exploration,
development, and utilization of mineral resources.

The issuance and the impeding implementation by the DENR of Administrative Order Nos. 57
which declares that all existing mining leases / agreements which were granted after the
effectivity of the 1987 Constitutionshall be converted into production-sharing agreements
within (1) year from the effectivity of these guidelines. and Administrative Order No. 82 which
provides that a failure to submit Letter of Intent and Mineral Production-Sharing Agreement
within 2 years from the effectivity of the Department AO No. 57 shall cause the abandonment of
the mining, quarry, and sand and gravel claims, after their respective effectivity dates compelled
the Miners Association of the Philippines, Inc., an organization composed of mining prospectors
and claim owners and claim holders, to file the instant petition assailing their validity and
constitutionality before this Court.

Issue :
Are the 2 Department Administrative Orders valid?

Ruling :

Yes. Petitioner's insistence on the application of PD No. 463, as amended, as the governing law
on the acceptance & approval of declarations of location and all other kinds of applications for
the exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources pursuant to EO No. 211, is
erroneous. PD No. 463, as amended, pertains to the old system of exploration, development and
utilization of natural resources through "license, concession or lease" which, however, has been
disallowed by Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. By virtue of the said constitutional
mandate and its implementing law, EO No. 279 which superseded EO No. 211, the provisions
dealing on "license, concession or lease" of mineral resources under PD No. 463, as amended,
and other existing mining laws are deemed repealed and, therefore, ceased to operate as the
governing law. In other words, in all other areas of administration and management of mineral
lands, the provisions of PD No. 463, as amended, and other existing mining laws, still govern.
Section 7 of Executive Order No. 279 provides, thus:
Sec. 7. All provisions of PD No. 463, as amended, other existing mining laws, and their IRR, or
parts thereof, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this EO, shall continue in force
and effect.
Well -settled is the rule, however, that regardless of the reservation clause, mining leases or
agreements granted by the State, such as those granted pursuant to EO No. 211 referred to this
petition, are subject to alterations through a reasonable exercise of the police power of the
State.
Accordingly, the State, in the exercise of its police power in this regard, may not be precluded by
the constitutional restriction on non-impairment of contract from altering, modifying and
amending the mining leases / agreements granted under PD No. 463, as amended, pursuant to
E0 No. 211. Police Power, being co-extensive with the necessities of the case and the demands
of public interest; extends to all the vital public needs. The passage of PD No. 279 which
superseded PD No. 211 provided legal basis for the DENR Secretary to carry into effect the
mandate of Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution.