Group urges Duterte: uphold open-pit mining ban

Aug. 18, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte (Rene B. Lumawag/Presidential Photo)

DAVAO CITY — A network of development organizations urge President Rodrigo Duterte to “put words into action” by upholding a current policy on the ban of open-pit mining, which they say government mining regulators have recently stated to reverse.

“(T)he new Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano in a news statement said that MGB’s position is for the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining,” said Philippine Misereor Partnership, Incorporated (PMPI) in a statement.

The group said that Moncano is “pushing for the reversal of the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2017-10 issued by former Secretary Gina Lopez that bans open pit mining as an extraction method for copper, gold, silver, and complex ores.”

They said that the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) also echoes the MGB director’s “harping on responsible mining and consistently asserts that open-pit mining is an internationally accepted method and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 allows it.”

However, the PMPI said the groups who support the lifting of the open-pit mining ban “have yet to define concretely what responsible mining is.”

“Their previous poster boy for responsible mining; Philex Mines in Benguet, was exposed when its mine tailings pond leaked 20 million metric tons of toxic wastes into Benguet’s water channels,” said the group.

The group said that the MGB’s statement is clearly in contradiction to the previous statement of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu that the ban on open-pit mining stays “as well as the strong pronouncement of President Duterte himself against the current situation of the mining industry in the country during his last SONA (State of the Nation Address)”.

The PMPI said this is the right time for him to turn his words into actions.(

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