Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino called on Malacañang not to use EO 79 to force local government units “to water down their ordinances protecting the environment and communities from large-scale and destructive mining” in a press briefing here Saturday.
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Local authorities need not follow Malacanang’s Executive Order No. 79 on mining to protect the environment.
In a press briefing here Saturday, Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño urged LGUs to “defend their local resolutions and ordinances on large-scale mining.”
He also called on Malacañang not to use EO 79 to force local government units “to water down their ordinances protecting the environment and communities from large-scale and destructive mining” in a press briefing here Saturday.
Section 12 of Malacanang’s Executive Order 79 on mining has become a bone of contention among local government units, lawmakers and advocate groups despite Malacañang’s previous claim that it consulted all stakeholders.
“LGUs shall confine themselves only to the imposition of reasonable limitations on mining activities conducted within their respective territorial jurisdictions that are consistent with national laws and regulations,” EO’s Section 12 states, a provision that is said to be the entry point of the national government to influence and pressure LGUs on mining policies.
“The President should delete Section 12 from the EO and respect the duty of the local government units to protect their constituents from the hazards of mining,” Casiño said.
Casiño said there’s nothing new to Aquino’s EO 79, saying it’s just a reaffirmation of the Mining Act of 1995. “It does not address the basic problem in Philippine mining that is being made to serve the needs of big corporations and the economies of other countries,” he said.
The militant lawmaker, who came from a trip in South Cotabato, said Gov. Arthur Pinggoy and the provincial government are “standing pat” on their local ordinance that prohibits open-pit mining.
Here in Davao, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continue to oppose mining despite Pres. Aquino’s EO 79.
But if President Aquino enforces EO 79, VM Duterte said “we cannot do anything about it because it takes precedence over and above an ordinance.”
He also added, “I am not willing to work towards his (President Aquino) end.”
As the Dutertes remain firm against mining, Davao lawmakers have also acted against it. Second District Congressman Isidro Ungab has filed a bill in Congress that will prohibit mining in the city. It’s currently pending on second reading at the House of Representatives. Third District Councilor Rachel Zozobrado is crafting an ordinance that will ban mining in the city while Councilor Karlo Bello is proposing a resolution to study EO 79 and its impact in the city.
For his part, lawyer Wilfredo Moncano, Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-XI’s Mines Management Division, said “I respect the Dutertes’ stand but I am in favor of the EO because the environment aspect was highlighted,” citing the prohibition of mining in island ecosystem. He added, “the government’s share is also emphasized (in the EO).”
MGB-XI Director Edilberto Arreza also said that while he respects the stand of the Dutertes, “happy” that the “EO has finally come out” so that they “could already start working.”
The Aquino administration’s EO cannot go beyond the existing mining law, said Bayan Muna’s Casiño. “The changes in mining policies require the enactment of a new mining law,” he added referring to HB 4315 or the Peoples Mining Bill (PMB) he authored pending now in Congress. (with reports from Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com