The Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR together with the Mine Envi- ronmental Protection and Enhancement Office review proposals and create an Envi- ronmental Assessment Review Committee to conduct scheduled inspections, public hearings, and open house testing of environmental impacts. Within 120 days, the
80 Alvin A. Camba ASEAS 9(1) proponents of the project need to submit the EIA to the Environmental Management Bureau. Unless explicitly rejected, the proposal is considered accepted. After submit- ting the EIA, the Provincial Environmental Board of local governments needs to veri- fy the study through various standards. Pro-mining local governments delegate their members to the provincial board, keeping anti-mining groups away from important positions of influence. Membership in the board requires political connections, eco- nomic resources, and social capital in the provinces. In case indigenous peoples pro- test against the result of the EIA, their grievances go through the NCIP’s regional heading office instead of the indigenous peoples’ own socio-political systems. Criticism on the procedures of the EIA has been widely voiced. The requirements of public information have been narrowed, the processing timeframes reduced, and the decision-making concentrated to the Environmental Management Bureau (Ro- villos et al., 2003). Mining companies conduct the EIA themselves by contracting industry experts. Since the mining company pays for the EIA, the contactor-payee relationship spawns doubt on the authenticity, sincerity, and neutrality of the study. Industry experts rely on the mining companies to pay for their services, producing a perverse incentive to present a rosy picture of the mining project and erode the findings of the EIA (congressional staff, committee on National Communities, 19 Oc- tober 2013). With civil society organizations and communities unable to participate in adjudicating and externally verifying the findings, the EIA becomes an ineffective tool to protect barangays and indigenous peoples (M. Diego, Mangyan Taga-Bukid, Atsmata Indigenous Group, Quezon City, 6 June 2014). The dynamics amongst industry experts, juridical procedures, and the mining companies constrain the opposition of indigenous peoples and social movements. NCIP’s regional offices and the Provincial Regional Courts act as the institutional mechanisms for hearing indigenous peoples’ grievances. The regional offices work like a regular trial court and quickly facilitate cases and favor those who have political connections to the local governments (congressional staff, committee on National Communities, 19 October 2013). In some cases, members of the local government bodies hunger for the potential foreign direct investments in the mining sector, be- lieving in credentials of industry experts and deferring to their understanding of the soil, wind patterns, water bodies, and many others (former local government unit staff, Bayombong, 26 June 2014). Both courts subsequently dismissed alternative gov-
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- Mining Sector, NCIP, Alvin A. Camba, philippine mining capitalism