Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has warned big mining companies to shape up, accusing them of destroying the environment.
In his speech at his thanksgiving party in Davao City on Saturday evening, Duterte said big mining firms, particularly in Surigao del Norte in southern Philippines, have to stop the destruction.
“The problem with big mining companies is they are destroying the soil of our country… It has to stop,” he added.
“The mining people must shape up. Most of what you do today, especially in Surigao [del Norte], is dig holes. [You] are destroying Mindanao,” the country’s next leader said.
Duterte said only the big mining interests from Manila are benefiting from mining and the small ones in Mindanao are at the losing end.
“Ang masakit, pati mga [What hurts, is that even the] Moro people, they are being pushed over to the marginal side of business. This must change,” according to him.
As an alternative, Duterte said he will have all Filipino mining workers organized into a cooperative.
He added that people from Mindanao would be given priority.
“Mauuna muna ang mga taga-Mindanao na mahihirap [The poor of Mindanao will be given the priority],” Duterte said.
“We will support them and give them instructions on how not to end up spoiling the land,” he added.