Presumptive President Rodrigo R. Duterte (file photo)

Presumptive President Rodrigo R. Duterte (file photo)

Duterte asked to punish PH’s 10 worst big mines

DAVAO CITY — An environmental group said President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will make history if he shuts down big mining companies that has caused destruction to the environment.

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lauded Duterte’s pronouncement last Saturday saying large-scale and destructive mining, particularly in Mindanao should stop.

“Pangita silag laing negosyo (They should look for other businesses).They have to stop,” Duterte told an estimate crowd of 500,000 during his thanksgiving party here.

Kalikasan National Coordinator Clemente Bautista said they are listing the names of mining companies for Duterte to punish. He said these companies operate the 10 worst mine sites and are “found to have extensive records on environmental destruction and human rights violations”.

Bautista said these mining companies have also caused displacement in the communities, but “did not receive proper action from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.”

These are the 10 “worst mining companies” that Kalikasan PNE would like Duterte to include on his priority list:

1.    Taganito Mining Corporation’s nickel mine in Claver, Surigao del Norte
2.    OceanaGold’s FTAA gold mine in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya
3.    DMCI’s nickel mine in Sta. Cruz, Zambales
4.    Citinickel’s nickel mine in Sofronio Espanola and Narra, Palawan
5.    Philex Mining’s gold and copper mine in Padcal, Benguet
6.    Golden Summit Mining Corporation’s illegal gold mine in Cordon, Isabela
7.    Sagitarrius Mines Inc.’s gold copper mine in Tampakan, South Cotabato
8.    Lepanto-Goldfields’ gold mine in Mankayan, Benguet
9.    Filminera Resources’ gold mine in Aroroy, Masbate
10.  Nickel Asia’s nickel mine in Manicani Island, Eastern Samar

‘Mindanaoans first’

Two of the named top 10 mining sites are located in Mindanao,the island group that Duterte wanted to prioritize to improve the lives of its residents especially the Moro who he described as “in the marginal side of our business endeavors” in Mindanao.

“That has to change. And I like it to be a cooperative of all Filipinong gakutkot diha (all Filipino who mine there),” he said during the One Love, One Nation thanksgiving party at the Davao Crocodile Park.

Duterte added that the small scale miners will be supported by the government.

“We will just support them and give them instructions of how not to end up spoiling the land here,” he said.

“Mauna muna ang taga Mindanao na mahirap. Lahat ng mining na malalaki, sumira ng ating environment will have to stop (The poor people from Mindanao should be prioritized. All large scale mining that has destroyed our environment will have to stop),” he said.

However, Kalikasan PNE appealed to Duterte to expand his scope to also include Luzon and Visayas.

“There are so much violations and destruction brought about by corporate mining all over the country, yet the Aquino administration had been very lax in penalizing these corporations and prosecuting their erring officials,” said Bautista.

‘Repeat offenders’

Kalikasan PNE cited a report by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno “that half of the 44 operating metallic mines in the country have been repeatedly been warned because of environmental violations.”

Kalikasan said only a few mining companies were filed with suspension orders, “and no corporate mining executives have been prosecuted in court.”

The companies’ violations include toxic contamination, air and water pollution, to forest and agricultural degradation.

“These big mines are notorious violators of environmental laws and have time and again trampled upon people’s rights in their host grassroots communities. The Taganito mine, which was subjected to punitive action by New People’s Army rebels in 2011 for its continuous massive siltation of adjacent rivers and coasts, comes to mind first when Duterte zeroed in on Surigao del Norte during his speech,” said Bautista.

Bautista said miners “such as OceanaGold, DMCI, Citinickel, Philex, Filminera, and Nickel Asia are similar to Taganito in the scale of plunder, pollution, and community displacement that they have caused.”

Bautista said they are challenging Duterte to cancel the mining permits of these companies.

“President-elect Duterte can expect massive support from the vigorous protest movements by communities in these 10 mine sites,” he said.

President-elect will make history

Bautista said the President-elect “will make history if he demonstrates that these much-reviled big polluters and pillagers no longer have a place in the Philippines.”

“He has the legal and moral authority to shut down violators’ large-scale mining operations and kick them out of the country,” Bautista added.

The Davao City-based online news provider, mindanews.com, said in its report that Duterte would head the DENR until he names his Environment Secretary.

Duterte said he was supposed to give the post to his former chief of staff, Maribojoc town mayor, Leoncio Evasco Jr., who is a former rebel. Evasco served as a mayor of the Bohol town for three terms before heading the campaign team of Duterte during the elections.

The DENR is among the Cabinet posts that Duterte initially offered to the Communist Party of the Philippines. Duterte later on, said that he will not give the post to the leftist because of serious issues surrounding mining that needs the role of the military. (davaotoday.com)

  • manuelcdiaz

    Nice sound byte but look who Duterte appointed as Finance Secretary? Dominguez is involved in Tampakan! One of Duterte’s supporter the Zamora brothers owns majority of Nickel Asia. Granting that this ignorant Bautista will be successful in convincing Duterte to shut down all mining operation in the Philippines can Baustista support all the thousands of workers with well paying jobs in these mines that will be jobless so we can gaze at the environment 24 hours a day?

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