‘Extractive’ mining a threat – Duterte

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BAGUIO CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday blamed mining industries for causing environmental destruction in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

In his speech during the annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy, Duterte said Mindanao is being threatened by climate change, aggravated by mining activities.

“As a child immigrant from Visayas to Mindanao, we hoped for a better life in the so-called ‘Land of Promise.’ But now, it is threatened by climate change caused by man-made diseases like extractive industries,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s remarks lent support to a mining crackdown being led by his Environment secretary, former activist Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez, who has ordered the shutdown of 23 mining companies and the cancellation of 75 contracts.


The President hit previous administrations for “deliberately” pushing for policies that only benefited themselves and the interest of a few.

“In the past, our government verged on failure because those who were in the position to help deliberately made wrong decisions which favored only themselves,” he said.

As a result of the supposed intentional mistakes of previous government officials, Duterte said “the rest of the nation is threatened by the widening gap between the rich and the poor, crime, corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.”

“Government must now deliver goods and services to really serve the people, not just the interest of the few… That is why I promised during my first State of the Nation Address, I promised you a comfortable life,” he said.

“My administration is working to ensure that basic human services are available to all; food and health needs; water and sanitation; shelter; public safety; education; and economic opportunities,” the President added.

Following an airborne inspection of areas affected by the Surigao City earthquake last week, Duterte acknowledged that the mining industry had taken a toll in Mindanao,

“I’m warning those [in the]mining industry, even if they have billions, they use[d]to pay everyone to be able corner a huge concession. That won’t happen under my administration,” he said.

The Philippines earns P70 billion from the mining industry annually, the President noted.

Probe sought

On Saturday, a lawmaker called for a congressional investigation into Lopez’s moves, saying the Environment chief should have given due process to the mining firms.

In a forum in Quezon City, Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang of the lone district of Kalinga province, said he had filed Resolution No. 756 before the House Committee on Rules inviting Lopez to attend an inquiry to explain her basis for the closure of 23 mining firms and cancellation of 75 mining contracts.

Mangaoang, a professor of geology, said Lopez should have informed the miners before holding a news conference announcing their closure.

“I admire the good secretary for her passion when it comes to [her]work, but she should have at least given these [mining]companies due process and a chance to explain their sides,” he clarified.

“Apparently, there [were no]written reports…given to respective mining teams to inform them what kind of environmental violations they have committed,” he added.

The lawmaker noted that the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 allows the Environment department to undertake periodic reviews of miners.

Lopez, he claimed, “violated” the act by not giving due process to the mining firms. “What we see here is that [Secretary Lopez] is close-minded,” he said.

Lopez has justified the closure of 23 mining firms all over the country by saying these were located near watersheds and cause siltation, which occurs when excessive mineral particles contaminate a body of water.
The 23 mining firms ordered closed were Benguet Corp., Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp., Emir Minerals Corp., TechIron Mineral Resources Inc., AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration, Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., SinoSteel Philippines HY Mining Corp., Kromico Inc., Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., Libjo Mining Corp., ADNAMA Mining Resources Corp., Claver Mineral Development Corp., Hinatuan Mining Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. and Platinum Group Metals Corp.

WITH DEMPSEY REYES

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you Mr. President for standing up against giant mining firms who are enriching themeselves with ZERO benifit to us poor. The real issue here is the IRRESPONSIBLE mining, profit sharing with the government and the problem of collecting money by the government because of corruption. I do not believe that the miners are serious in rehabilitating mining area after they damage DUE TO mining. MABUHAY KA…I would like to specially mention the Mining operated by Cong. PECHAY AND GOV. TY AND PEMENTEL FAMILY FOR DESTROYING BEAUTIUL MOUTAIN IN SURIGAO…voice from Surigao.

  2. Congressman Mangaoang could do nothing to stop destructive mining and should stop talking. He should not block a performing Secretary. Even closure is not the strongest act that can be made here, mining owners, managers and pollution control officers should be criminally liable for environmental destruction and should put to jail if the full force of the law can be applied. Lawmakers are law breakers.

  3. Cong. Mangaoang, paki ‘you tube’ naman ninyo ang mga lugar na devastated ng mga mining companies dito sa Pilipinas upang makita ninyo ang malawakang pagkawasak ng mga kabundukan na kung saan nag o-operate ang mga mining companies na ipinasasara ni Sec. Gina Lopez. Huwag kayong magpanggap na inocente sa tunay na pruhisyo sa mga taong nasa lugar ng pinagmiminahan. May hinala ako na kayo’y mula sa tribu ng Kiangan na nagpapahalaga sa kalikasan na pinagmumulan ng sa mga katotobong payak na pamumuhay. Dapat ay isa kayo na nagmamalasakit laban sa mga tampalasang mining companies. Huwag ninyo sanlungatin ang legacy ng inyong mga ninunong katotobo.

  4. I agree that only those chosen few benefited from this industry, this did not help the economy as well, if they say mining is good for our economy, I will not believe since we the JUAN DE LA CRUZ did not feel it, instead this will only destroy the land for our future generation.

  5. A messiah from heaven has come in the person of gina lopez, a david vs the goliath, just imagine, the powerful rich n politicians that mam gina is facing. She is not afraid. Just imagine the destruction to our natural resources that this mining industry had given. Lets all rally for sec lopez for her to be confirm as secretary of natural resources.

  6. There is one issue related to mining which is mentioned very seldom. The ore is treated and refined in a third country, not in the Philippines. It means that Filipinos benefit very little from these activities. The environmental impact could probably be accepted with some additional measures if the locally added value was significant. But it is not the case.
    I encourage everybody to go to the Surigao region and see how whole mountains are being transported away on barges, then loaded on bulk cargo ships anchored close by. Most of these cargo ships are flagged in a third country, essentially the PRC.

    The way mining is done at this time does not benefit Filipinos in a meaningful way. The revenues flow probably in a few privileged pockets, but do not provide the jobs one could expect from these operations. After all, this is Filipino soil being carried away.

    • Most of the mines take out all the soil with minerals together then process these abroad. In this way, these mining companies can declare that they just extracted few ounces even if the processed minerls run into hundred kilos or tons of minerals.In short, the government and the filipinos are being short changed by these mining companies for over so many decades and even more than a century. So we can’t just imagine the plunder committed by these greedy miners. and they still have the nerve to use due process to justify their environmental destruction and criminal plunder against the people of the Philippines.

  7. Gina is a Godsend. As far as mining is concerned, it won’t be business as usual. More power to Gina.

  8. The President will be hard pressed to do what is correct in dealing with the illegal mining activities in the Philippines because obviously, there are so many politicians who depend their election from illegal miners themselves. However, for the good of all, President Rody must stop the illegal mines otherwise, the people will be the victims, not the politicians who are living in the areas mined. Let us support Lopez and Duterte.

  9. too much talkin from the mining companies and their spokesperson, why not file a case against denr or gina specifically. because, there is no case to file?