Enforce suspension, closure orders vs 26 largescale mines—group
Following the announcement of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordering the closure of 21 largescale mining operations and suspension of five mines, environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) called on relevant government agencies to enforce the orders.
“We urge all relevant government agencies to immediately enforce the closure and suspension of all 26 mining companies, as the affected communities have been clamouring to expedite this since the announcement of the mining audit’s initial results last September,” national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE Clemente Bautista said.
“This is a significant victory for the long-standing people’s struggles against destructive large-scale mining and a job well done for Sec. Lopez,” Bautista said.
Lopez’s announcement was the pinnacle of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR’s) mining audit covering all 40 large-scale mines operating in the country.
The earlier suspension of 10 mines were upheld and 20 more mining firms were recommended for suspension in the initial result that was announced September last year.
To fully rehabilitate the degraded watersheds, agricultural lands and other ecosystems, Bautista said Lopez should compel all erring mining companies to compensate and have the payment proceed to DENR’s plan to engage communities in an “area development approach” in restoring and redeveloping the mining sites that will be relinquished.
“All affected communities hosting these mines up for closure or suspension must remain vigilant as we expect resistance from the mining companies and the bureaucrats in their fold. Sec. Lopez should strengthen her cooperation with grassroots communities and social movements in working towards the closure of all these erring mines,” Bautista added. RAM/rga
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