Moreno OK with mining, ‘but it must be responsible’
MANILA, Philippines — Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said he will continue the current administration’s stand on mining if ever he wins the presidency, although it should be a responsible and environment-friendly activity.
Moreno told veteran talk show host Boy Abunda during a one-on-one interview aired on Thursday night that he will allow mining because the country badly needs income to revive the economy, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pagtitibayin,” Moreno said when asked if he would continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy in terms of mining. “Because isa sa pinaka-magandang asset ng bansa ‘yong ating mga minerals. There is also what you call responsible mining, and there is a gold-standard, and world-standard of responsible one, and it has to be applied to everyone, to anyone.”
“At sa sitwasyon natin ngayon, sa hirap ng buhay ng ating bansa, sa hirap ng epekto ng pandemyang ito sa ating ekonomiya, we need to generate more FDIs — foreign direct investment — more investment, more jobs, more source of income,” he added.
According to Moreno, it is impossible to rely solely on making money through taxation, as the citizens are also affected by the economic downturn brought by the health crisis.
“We cannot keep on taxing our people para mapatakbo natin ang gobyerno. Kailangan nating kumita (We need to generate income), pero (but) we can be responsible in our environment, and I think there [are] already rules in this world that is applicable, and can be applied to our mining industry,” he explained.
“We will allow mining,” he added.
During the early part of the interview, Moreno was also asked if he would accept campaign donations from the mining industry. The local chief executive said yes, provided that it comes from a purely legal initiative.
“Mining money? Well kung ‘yong mina na pinanggalingan ay hindi ilegal, at legal, at makatuwiran ‘yong pagnenegosyo nila, why not? Eh kailangan ko ng lahat ng uri ng tulong,” he noted.
Mining has been a controversial issue under President Duterte’s administration, as several government officials expressed varying views about the industry. When the late former secretary Gina Lopez was at the helm of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, she purged mining contracts in an effort to save the environment.
But last April 2021, the nine-year ban on new mining contracts has been scrapped by Duterte — earning criticisms from environmental groups who claim that irresponsible mining has been damaging communities.
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