Militant solons slam reversal of mine closure, suspension orders
The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives on Saturday slammed the reversal of the closure and suspension orders on several mining firms that were issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“The government’s economic managers clearly waylaid what could have been a monumental move for the Duterte administration to put a stopper on the destructive and plunderous mining companies that wreak havoc not only on the environment but more importantly on the lives of our people,” the bloc said in a statement.
According to government data, mining only makes up for 0.7% of the country’s gross domestic product while its contribution to employment is only at 0.6%. Yet, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia were “quick to rattle on the supposed horrors of workers layoffs and decreased tax revenue from the mines closure.”
“They deliberately downplayed the fact that the highly liberalized mining industry enforced years of tax holidays on top of other benefits to both local and foreign owned large-scale mining companies,” the bloc added.
The government should uphold the suspension and closure orders of the DENR, because it was not only the community of indigenous people was affected, but also the agricultural and fishing communities on the environmental impact of mining, it said.
“The closure and suspension orders issued by the DENR led by Sec. Gina Lopez could have been the first step in a full-blown investigation of mine sites and its effects to the people and the environment, and open up the discussion on how our country could judiciously utilize our mineral resources to boost national economic development,” it added.
The group calls on President Rodrigo Duterte to be steadfast on his statement where he described oligarchs as “monsters” and that he will “destroy their clutches” in the country, and to uphold the interest of people and the environment, instead of listening to his economic managers, “who are clearly indebted to big mining interests and neoliberal persuasions.“ CDG
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