Duterte: Ban on mining to remain in Davao City
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is standing by a ban on mining here as he lauded the city council for coming up with a resolution that effectively legislated the ban.
Duterte said no mining company has dared enter the city in the last 20 years because of the City Hall’s stance against mining.
“I am putting you on notice,” Duterte told prospective mining companies during the Sunday television program Gikan sa masa, para sa masa.
“I don’t want you here,” he said, adding he has been opposing mining here due to the social costs that communities would have to pay.
“Lives become so cheap as people fight over the minerals underground,” he said.
The City Council passed on May 5, the resolution that enacted the mining ban. Section 5 of the Ordinance states, “No approval shall be granted or issued by the city through its Sangguniang Panglungsod to any person, natural or juridical, to undertake any and all forms of mining operation in any area within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City, except rocks and mineral substances classified under the quarry.”
But the local legislation creates legal challenges to the national government, which grants foreign companies the right to have a 100-per cent stake in mining under the 1995 Mining Act, a controversial legislation, which continues to be challenged before the Supreme Court.
“An ordinance cannot be greater than a national law,” Duterte acknowledged. The mayor, however, noted that that mining companies have been attacked by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in areas where they have been operating.
He also warned against the penchant of mining companies to arm their security guards with high-powered firearms such as M14 and M16, saying that doing so would only help the NPAs amass more firearms. “The problem with the mining companies, they usually arm their security guards to the teeth, but security guards are only there to make a living, they’re not there to die for a war, so those high-powered firearms will only end up in the hands of the NPA,” Duterte said. SFM/AC
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