DAVAO CITY, Philippines — An environmental group slammed the government for “flip-flopping” on the closure and suspension of large-scale mining companies across the country.
“The Duterte administration is gravely mistaken in their flip-flopping from fully supporting to suddenly putting on hold the historic decision to close down big mines that have wantonly raped the environment and caused insufferable social injustice to millions of Filipino people,” Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE said in a statement.
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment statement came as the Duterte administration reportedly stopped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ closure and suspension orders to some 28 large-scale mining operations to “observe due process.”
It can be recalled that DENR Secretary Gina Lopez issued a closure order against the 23 mines and suspended five other mining firms.
“It should have upheld the suspension of mines even amid the appeal of these abusive miners and pushed for a further investigation on how at least 68 percent of all operating large-scale mines got away with impunity in their destructive operations,” Bautista said.
Bautista added that out that the audit of all 41 large-scale mines “involved frontline communities, local governments, and NGOs that have experienced and confronted first-hand the adverse social and environmental impact of big miners.”
“By all means, allow the companies to appeal the decision, but the closure and suspension orders must be kept in place concurrent to the appeal process. At the very least, Malacanang should have a precautionary approach to resolving the dispute over the mine closures since there are clear and urgent cases of environmental degradation and social injustice that has to be immediately addressed,” he pointed out.
He argued that mining companies have been subjected to scientific environmental investigation which cause a “massive water pollution to river system,” citing the Australian-Canadian mining firm OceanaGold’s large-scale mine in Nueva Vizcaya.
“The Duterte administration should stop listening to the deceitfully alarmist whispers of mining plunder apologists. It should launch a full-blown investigation into the glaring weaknesses of our mining regulatory policies and how these mining companies have abused our mining laws to plunder our mineral resources at the expense of our people and environment,” Bautista said. (davaotoday.com)