President Duterte maintains bans on open-pit mining in the country

President Rodrigo Duterte stands behind former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’ policy of banning open-pit mining in the country.

“He says that the ban on open pit mining remains,” Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Harry Roque said.

Prior to this, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu mentioned of his plan to present to Mr. Duterte the recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) for the President to reverse the order of Lopez.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines is hoping that an administrative order will be issued soon in favor of the recommendation of MICC reversing Lopez’ order.

UNTV News had tried to get the side of DENR with regard to the issue but there was no response as of this writing.

Meanwhile, some residents of Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar are now in their 11th day of protests in front of the DENR office in Quezon City.

They call on the agency not to renew the mineral production sharing agreement of the Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) which has expired last month.

They said that even after the operation of the company was suspended in 2002, the mining company was able to ship stockpile out of the island.

“Biktima kami ng mga katiwalian. Dahil during loading sa Manicani, 2004, 2016 tinambakan kami ng mga pulis at military (We are victims of corruption. During the loading in  Manicani, 2004, 2016 they unloaded the police and military on us) ,” said Rebecca Destajo of Save Manicani Movement.

But the Nickel Asia Corporation, who owned HMC, argued that the transfer of stockpile was necessary even after typhoon Yolanda.

They claim that 85% of the residents in Manicani actually are in favor of resuming the mining operation in the area.

“Kasi ang Yolanda malakas yung hangin ng bagyo yun ang nagtulak ng storm surge (During Typhoon Yolanda, the strong winds pushed the storm surge). Pero kung malakas ang ulan ng bagyo baka bumaba yung stockpile at maaffect yung mga barangay (Had the rain been heavy, the stockpile would have been eroded and could have affected the barangays).  That’s why we were given permit to dispose of the stockpile,” Nickel Asia Corporation VP for Corporate Communications Jose Bayani Baylon said.

In a press conference, Lopez presented a video of her visit to Manicani showing the effects of mining specifically in rice fields.

But Nickel Asia Counter this arguing that there was no rice field in the island.

They added that the entire mining industry should not be implicated with a single case of irresponsible mining. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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