Duterte blames mining for Cordillera landslides
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday blamed the uncontrolled mining operations in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) for the landslides that struck Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of super Typhoon “Ompong” over the weekend.
“Marami tayong problema sa (We have a lot of problems in the) mining industry, it has not contributed anything substantial to the national economy. Though I must admit that we earn about 70 billion a year. And if you’re ready to accept that as a good, as a profit, let us make it simple for the country, but in the end, how much do you lose in the process?” Duterte said during a briefing at the Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad, Benguet.
“That mining thing has contributed a lot of heartaches for Filipinos. It is time for us, particularly the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources)… to take a second look at the dangers of open-pit mining,” he added.
The President even cited Davao’s problems with small-scale mining which, according to him, resulted in the decline of tuna catch in the area due to pollution from mining.
Duterte, however, stressed that to end mining, Congress must repeal the mining law.
“If we cannot end mining because of the (existing) law, (then) to end mining, it is (the) Congress that will have to abrogate the law,” he said.
“One day, I’ll have to confront Congress and say we’ll have to close down mining industry, or give Mother Earth a respite from the endless diggings,” Duterte added.
The President’s remark came after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier ordered the suspension of all small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera following a landslide in the region that killed dozens of people.
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