DAVAO CITY, Philippines–Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will resolve the mining impasse in the country, as he warned mining companies anew to shape up.
“I have to solve the mining impasse. Mining impasse, I’m warning the rich. Kasi ‘yung kay Failon plus ‘yung kay Gina, nakita ko talaga na destructive talaga,” Duterte said in a speech delivered on Wednesday at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology anniversary gathering.
The President, in his speech, discussed the effects of irresponsible mining in the country which caused environmental degradation.
“Nakita mo ‘yung bukid na pagung-pagong na and I do not even see a single tree planted. And the devastation doon sa mga palayan, wala na, hindi na sila makapagtanim. Mga fishpond nila, it’s all poisoned by…,” he said.
Duterte was referring to the ABS-CBN’s “Failon Ngayon” documentary entitled “Pamana ng Mina,” which was aired last July 9. The documentary showed the irreversible effects of environmental degradation left by irresponsible mining companies in the country.
During his May 9 election victory speech in this city, Duterte admitted that he has a problem with mining companies in the country.
“I have a big problem with mining companies. They are destroying the soil of our country,” Duterte said. “The mining people must shape up. It has to stop. The spoiling of the land, the destroying of Mindanao.”
With this, Duterte is planning to have a dialogue with the rich and the poor in order to solve the issue.
“So one of these days tatawagin ko ang mga mayaman at ‘yung mga mahirap. Makinig na lang kayo. Tao man kayo, anong tingin mo dito? Sirain mo ‘yung palayan niya, paano sila mag-survive?,” he asked.
“Ikaw, sige ka diyan kutkot nang kutkot. And how… It’s only five percent. Taxes? We get about 70 billion a year and that’s it,” the President said.
Duterte floated the idea that “rich” mining companies should pay the poor to compensate them after mining companies destroyed the environment.
“If he has lost 100,000 hectares, tutal mayaman naman ‘yang mining, bayaran mo. Tapos taniman mo ng kahoy, kapag ‘di niyo taniman ng kahoy, ‘yang ulo ninyo ang putulin ko, ilagay ko sa, ‘yan ang itanim ko doon,” he said.
Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez instituted major mining reforms for the mining sector by imposing a crackdown against irresponsible mining companies during her short term.
Lopez has shut down the operations of 23 mines and suspended five other mining firms when it failed on the agency’s internal mining audit.
But recently, DENR secretary Roy Cimatu issued DENR Administrative Order No. 2017-18 dated July 3, placing the authority to issue environmental compliance certificates (ECC) back to the director and regional directors of line agency Environmental Management Bureau.
Cimatu’s order overturns the DAO No. 2017-04 which is an order issued by Lopez limiting the authority to approve ECCs for environmentally critical projects and non-critical projects. (davaotoday.com)