Duterte reminds miners to follow rules
President Duterte assured mining companies that they could continue operating in the country as long as they followed the rules and the law, including those that protect the environment, Malacañang said yesterday.
Mr. Duterte met with representatives of the mining companies in Malacañang on Thursday, a little over a week after he warned them in his State of the Nation Address that he would tax them “to death” if they would not spend to restore the area they had damaged with their activities.
Otherwise, he would have to put a stop to mining, he added.
“The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson gave the information that 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 will be no problem and they can continue with their operations,” said Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Mr. Duterte reiterated his administration’s policy on mining.
In his Sona last week, the President had said that protecting the environment was paramount. “The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect it one way or the other. And this policy is non-negotiable,” he said.
He also warned them to refrain from the unbridled and irresponsible destruction of watersheds, forests and aquatic resources. The mining firms, he said, were responsible for the “full and quick clean-up, restoration and rehabilitation of all areas damaged by mining activities, and the extension of all necessary support to the communities that have suffered mining’s disastrous effects on their health, livelihood, and environment, among others.”
During his meeting with the mining executives on Thursday, the President also discussed his administration’s anti-drug campaign. Photos released by Malacañang showed Mr. Duterte holding up his list of drug suspects, updated as of July 25. Duterte was accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Cimatu has also assured the public that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under his watch was still “one with the President in his firm desire to rid the country of abusive and irresponsible miners that are concerned only with profits and care nothing for the environment and our countrymen.”
Duterte seemingly echoed in his Sona statements made by Cimatu’s predecessor Gina Lopez, a known anti-mining advocate, over her stint the past year as environment secretary. Lopez, Duterte’s first choice as environment secretary, failed to secure confirmation from the Commission on Appointments after she had ordered the closure and suspension of 28 mining operations across the country. Duterte appointed Cimatu, the former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in her stead.
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