Bishop slams Aquino’s new mining policyINQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines— A Catholic Bishop on Sunday warned that the Aquino administration’s new mining policy could make conflict caused by the industry even worse.
The Catholic Church news website, CBC News (http://www.cbcpnews.net/?q=node/19983) reported that Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes has found it disturbing that under the new executive order on mining signed by President Benigno Aquino III the policy-making decisions would be ceded to the national government.
“The policy is actually the same, if not worse than the other mining polices because everything will be dictated by the national government,” said Bastes.
Bastes, a critic of the ongoing mining operations in in Rapu-Rapu, Albay, even feared that the new EO could “escalate the problem, creating more division between the local stakeholders and the government,” the report said.
According to the bishop, Aquino’s mining policy will overstep existing local ordinances against mining.
“If this happens, we are all in the dark. This is a kind of situation that we do not want,” Bastes said.
Bastes said the conditions laid down by the administration in its mining policy lacked safeguards to avert irreparable environmental damage.
“The [administration] is still very sympathetic with the mining companies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang on Sunday asked the public to keep their opinions on the executive order on mining in check until it is disclosed Monday.
“Let’s just a little more time and we will be presenting the mining EO,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a radio interview.
“Perhaps it would be better to hold off any comments before seeing the actual EO and seeing what the provisions are,” said Valte amid early criticisms from Church leaders and local government officials.
Valte said that the final EO was a product of consultations with stakeholders and that it went through a lot of processes.
“It aims to give a more comprehensive policy on mining in the country particularly on the problem of small scale mining.