Agusan del Norte Gov. Angel Amante-Matba on Tuesday called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DRNR) to involve local government units (LGUs) in assessing mining operations across the country.
“Local government units in mining host communities should take the lead in monitoring and ensuring responsible mining operations, the protection of the environment and the community and the preservation of natural resources,” Matba said.
She added that the DENR should give greater consideration to sentiments of the LGUs in the ongoing government audit of mining operations nationwide.
The audit, according to the governor, should not stop the LGUs from booting out environmentally irresponsible mining companies.
“In line with moves toward greater decentralization and federalism, the local governments should have more say on whether mining companies can stay or must go,” Matba said.
Agusan del Norte is host to a few mining operations.
Matba cited the examples of Zambales Gov. Amor Deloso who ordered the suspension of dirt miners in his province without waiting for DENR sanctions, as well as the province of Nueva Vizcaya, which had complained to the department that mine tailings were being dumped on farmlands.
“In our case, we always monitored and made sure that tailings and other residues from mining operations in our province never affected the environment and the biodiversity of the province. We will never allow the indiscriminate destruction of our environment and our community. If we allow that, the problems remains in us to the detriment of the people,” she said.
The governor added that provinces should not compromise on environmental protection and support only responsible mining operations that serve as role models through their global best practices.