Tolentino seeks complete rehab for Itogon, passage of land use act
Secretary Francis Tolentino, presidential adviser on political affairs, on Sunday called on Congress to pass the National Land Use Act in response to a landslide that killed more than 60 people in Itogon town in Benguet.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte had designated Tolentino as his “conduit” for the preparations and disaster response to Typhoon “Ompong,” internationally known as “Mangkhut.”
“Yung sinisipat ko rito matagal ng nakabinbin sa Kongreso, ‘yung National Land Use Plan natin eh aprubahan na. Iliwanag na dito ‘yung mga geohazard maps,” Tolentino said in an interview conducted by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and anchor Mare Yao in “Konektodo,” a show aired over dzMMM Teleradyo.
[What I’m aiming for the approval of the National Land Use Plan, which has been pending in Congress. That will clarify the geohazard maps.]
“Yung mga mining areas, depende sa prayoridad ng Pangulo kung kakanselahin lahat ‘yung mga small-scale [mining] dahil nga ‘yung pangyayari nitong Huwebes City Cebu. Lahat po ito dapat nilalaman na ng National Land Use Plan,” he added.
[It’s up to the President to decide if he would cancel all small-scale mining because of the incident last Thursday in Cebu. All of these should be included in the National Land Use Plan.]
Tolentino was referring to the landlside in Naga City in Cebu where more than 20 people were killed and dozens more were missing.
Durting his third State of the Nation Address, Duterte urged Congress to fast-track the pasasage of the National Land Use Act.
On Sunday, Tolentino said he would want the whole town of itogon to undergo rehabilitation.
“Siguro isara muna natin. Mag-rehab tayo. Yung mga lungga doon, mga tunnel, mga butas eh kung papano ang paglalaman noon, pagtataklob,” he said.
[Maybe we should close it so we could rehabilitate it. We should determine how to fill up the tunnels there and other holes.]
“Hindi lang ‘yung greening eh, kasi surface lang ‘yung vegetation. Dapat po puno eh. Dapat po complete rehabilitation,” he went on.
[It should not be limited to greening, because that involves only vegetation on the surface. We should plant trees. We should do a complete rehabilitation.]
“And complete rehabilitation would mean restoration of the environment in its previous state prior to the mining activity,” he added. /atm
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