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Environment vs economy

Senators split on Lopez crackdown on mining

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 12:30 AM February 16, 2017
An open gold-copper mining pit of OceanaGold  in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya province. (PHOTO BY RICHARD BALONGLONG / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON)

An open gold-copper mining pit of OceanaGold in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya province. (PHOTO BY RICHARD BALONGLONG / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON)

Senators are divided over Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s crackdown on the mining industry, citing the need for balance to protect the environment and the immediate economic repercussions of mine closures and suspensions.

Sen. Loren Legarda on Wednesday lauded Lopez’s decision to shut 23 mines, suspend five others and cancel 75 mining contracts, calling the environment chief’s act “courageous.”

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Sen. Bam Aquino said that if the mining companies had violated the law, then they should be penalized, but due process and laws “need to be respected.”

Sen. Joel Villanueva said Lopez’s move was “good for the environment,” but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should observe proper procedures.

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Sen. Francis Escudero said such decisions as Lopez had made should be made by the whole government and not by just one department.

But Malacañang threw its support behind Lopez’s decision to cancel 75 mining contracts.

Presidential spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, said the cancellation of the mining contracts was “consistent” with Republic Act No. 7942, which prohibits mining in watersheds. —WITH REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA AND MARLON RAMOS

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TAGS: Bam Aquino, closure of mining firms, Ernesto Abella, Francis Escudero, Gina Lopez, Joel Villanueva, Loren Legarda, Philippine mining, Regina Lopez
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