DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Militant solons coming from the Makabayan bloc hit out on Saturday the reversal of the closure and suspension orders issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“The government’s economic managers clearly waylaid what could have been a monumental move for the Duterte administration to put a stopper on the destructive and plunderous mining companies that wreck havoc not only on the environment but more importantly on the lives of our people,” the bloc said in a statement.
According to the government’s data, the share of mining in the gross domestic product is only 0.7 percent, while its contribution to employment is only at 0.6 percent.
However, the Makabayan bloc said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socio-economic Planning secretary Ernesto Pernia were quick “to rattle on the supposed horrors of workers layoffs and decreased tax revenue from the mines closure.”
“They deliberately downplayed the fact that the highly liberalized mining industry enforced years of tax holidays on top of other benefits to both local and foreign owned large-scale mining companies,” it said.
The militant lawmakers urged the Duterte administration to uphold the DENR orders against the large-scale mining companies, pointing that after the enactment of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining-affected communities were bulldozed by environmental degradation and social injustice.
“We further call on the President to uphold the interest of the people and the environment, and, shun the whispers of his economic managers who are clearly indebted to big mining interests and neoliberal persuasions,” the bloc said.
It further claimed that DENR’s closure and suspension orders “could have been the first step in a full-blown investigation of mine sites and its effects to the people and the environment.”
“Foremost, indigenous people’s communities, whose ancestral lands hold some of the last bastions of our natural wealth, are being dispossessed of their lands, whether through coercion, exigency, or collusion in relation to mining projects,” the bloc said. (davaotoday.com)