Duterte says he may really shut down some mining sites
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he may really shut down the operations of some mining projects in the country, particularly those in Mindanao, due to the environmental destruction.
The Chief Executive said he may support the decision of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to close the mining sites after seeing the devastated mountains when he flew to Surigao City, which was struck by magnitude 6.7 earthquake.
He said he told the governor of Surigao del Norte that "there is nothing that I can do if Gina closes down mining companies."
"There is nothing that I can do because when I passed by the area, I really saw...Surigao City is the most-mined city. This place has the most mining spots, somewhat like the cap of a Coke bottle, the brown one. It even reached the mountain of Davao," he said.
"So, I think they will never be able to restore nature to what it was before. So I think, I really will shut them down."
Out of 23 mining projects that Lopez earlier ordered to be closed, seven are found in Surigao del Norte.
These include the Adnama Mining Resources Corporation, Claver Mineral Development Corp., Platinum Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corporation, Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation, and Hinatuan Mining Corporation.
Duterte acknowledged that there were people who could lose their source of living when he approves the closure of the mining sites.
But he said the government would find ways to provide "new source of living" for them.
"If I see an industrial company that can replace that, I may really shut down those mining companies because our mountains have been destroyed and are going bald in some areas," he said, noting that the government earns only about P70 billion from the mining industry.
Lopez's order to shut down the 23 mining sites and to suspend the operations of five others due to alleged violations of the mining law is now subject of a multi-stakeholder review, which was created by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council. Celerina Monte/DMS