President Rodrigo Duterte met with top executives of mining companies a week after he threatened to “tax to death” those who do not rehabilitate areas damaged by their operations.
In a news conference at Conrad Hotel in Pasay City on Friday, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Duterte reiterated his administration’s policy to protect the environment from destructive effects of mining.
“During that meeting with the miners, the President essentially said that, for as long as mining groups, whether big or small, follow the rules on mining and keep environmental laws in mind, then there would be no problem and they can continue with their operations,” Guevarra told reporters.
When asked if Duterte announced a new mining policy during the meeting, he said, “I’m not privy to any new policy announcement from the President except reiteration of what has been the policy of the government ever since.”
Duterte, during his second State of the Nation Address last month, warned mining companies that he would tax them to death unless they restore the “virginity “ of exploited areas.
“You have to come up with a substitute, either spend to restore the virginity of the source or I will tax you to death,” he said in his speech.
The President demanded all mining companies to clean up adverse effects of their mining operations as his administration would make it a “non-negotiable” policy.
“Reasonable and sustainable development is what we advocate and require,” he said. “The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or the other. This policy is non-negotiable.”