Give LGUs bigger role in mining
DAVAO CITY—Agusan del Norte Gov. Angel Amante-Matba on Thursday said local executives in mining areas should be given a bigger role in monitoring and ensuring responsible mining operations.
Amante-Matba said this would also give them a lead role in protecting the environment and the community and preserving natural resources.
“In line with moves toward greater decentralization and federalism, local governments should have more say on whether mining companies can stay or must go,” she said in a statement.
The province of Agusan del Norte currently hosts a number of mining companies, which are into nickel and gold production.
Amante-Matba said local executives should also be given a greater role in the ongoing government audit of mining operations in the country and that they should be given the authority to boot erring mining companies.
She cited several examples of local governments that have acted on their own against irresponsible mining.
“In our case, we always monitored and made sure that tailings and other residues from mining operations in our province never affected the environment and the biodiversity of the province,” the governor said.
“We will never allow the indiscriminate destruction of our environment and our community. If we allow that, then we will inherit the problem too. Our people will suffer,” she said.
The province is host to the country’s only ISO-certified mining operations.
The Agusan Del Norte governor added that provinces should not compromise on environmental protection and support only mining operations that serve as role models or good examples of responsible mining through their global-level best practices.
In her province’s case, she said, the local community truly benefited from mining operations and their “multiplier effect,” creating thousands of jobs and numerous business opportunities. Provincial coffers also received a big boost by way of more local taxes, while indigenous peoples also received monetary benefits.
“If you say that mining does not contribute, I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Amante-Matba said. “You don’t just look at the number of people employed, you also have to look at the multiplier effect,” she said.
She added that DENR should be fair with miners, big or small, that comply and continue to comply with all government requirements and standards both for mining processes and environmental management. Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao
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