Davao mayor backs proposed ban on mining
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Mayor Sara Duterte has defended a proposal to outlaw mining activities in the city, except for sand and gravel quarrying, saying the ban was not anti-development but a necessity in the protection of the environment.
The proposal, made by Councilors Victorio Advincula Jr. and Paolo Duterte two weeks ago, seeks to prohibit open-pit and underground mining within the Davao City area.
“The nature of mining processes creates a potential negative impact on the environment both during the operations and for years after the mine is closed,” the text of the measure reads. It has already passed first reading.
Edilberto Arreza, Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional director for Southern Mindanao, said he was worried about the move to declare the city mining-free.
He said the bureau could not understand such a move and maintained that mining could benefit the city more.
Arreza admitted that at least five mining firms have filed applications for mineral exploration in areas that fall within the city’s boundaries. He said the areas applied for total 40,000 hectares.
“The applicants have complied with the requirements but MGB can’t give the go-signal to the explorations because of lack of approval from the city government,” Arreza said.
But Duterte said she had made her position against mining clear early on.
She said she even called on the MGB to bar mining companies from operating in the Paquibato and Marilog districts here.
Duterte said she agreed with the councilors when they said that mining’s benefits would be offset by its ill-effects.
She said mining could result in soil erosion and formation of sinkholes, aside from loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil.
More importantly, the declaration of Davao as mining-free will also protect lives, she said.
“Mining will bring more problems than solutions. We only need to look at the experience of areas where mining exists to realize that,” she said.
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