DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines denied Thursday the claim of President Rodrigo Duterte that several mining firms were funding the supposed destabilization plot against the president.
“Our member companies vehemently deny any involvement in any destabilization effort against the administration,” COMP said in a statement.
COMP, the umbrella organization of mining companies in the country, even expressed its full support to the Duterte administration.
“The Chamber of Mines fully supports the administration of President Duterte and is unaware of any mining company that is supportive of any destabilization efforts against the administration. We condemn such efforts and reaffirm our commitment to work with this administration, and to follow the law and the Constitution,” it added.
COMP’s statement came as Duterte, at a press briefing in the Palace last Monday, revealed that several mining companies funded his political critics who are planning to oust him from the Presidency.
“Kayong mga mining, I know that you are funding the opposite side. Alam ko na ngayon kung sinong gumagastos sa kanila. Hindi ko na lang…I know that some of you are giving funding to the other side to destabilize me,” Duterte said.
The President, in the same press briefing, also floated the idea of implementing a total ban of mining across the country, belittling the P7-billion profit that goes to the government coffers at the expense of the environment.
On Tuesday, Duterte lashed out several mines which he claimed has caused destruction to the environment.
“This is Berong Nickel Corporation, Narra, Palawan. Look at the greens. You think you can live with it because of the P70 billion?…Now, is Gina a liar? No, I don’t. Mahirap ito, tignan mo ginawa [This is difficult, look what you have done] , green tapos dito…[while here] So where are the trees that God gave us? Where’s the environment that God gave us?
Duterte said he is planning to meet personalities of several mines.
“Ang problema nito, we have to talk with the mining people. Not even Gina now is really the controlling… lahat tayo sa gobyerno pati sa akin. Nakikita mo iyon mga water systems sa… mga potable water sa… Benguet Nickel Mines,” he said.
“Eh kung maubos na ito, maghanap pa silang iba. They will dig in other…my God. You think that you are in Wyoming, o South Dakota, with the heartland of—Benguet Corporation, desert. Ramin (?) Minerals, desert. They spoiled environment,” the President added.
But COMP said that the pictures presented to Duterte was “inaccurate.”
“The pictures given to the President show active mining areas and do not present a complete picture of responsible mining. Like any project still under construction, an active mine does not look green or pleasing to the eye,” the group of mines said.
“However, mining areas, once completed, are rehabilitated, planted with local species, and made useable for agriculture or forestry, or preserved as an eco-tourism site. We will be glad to clarify this matter with the President, if given the opportunity,” it added. (davaotoday.com)