PH to endure ‘perdition’ if gov’t does not end destructive mining — Duterte

Published September 17, 2018, 11:00 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling 

The country will endure “perdition” if the government does not put an end to “destructive mining” operations this year, President Duterte declared last Sunday.

epa06994648 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte leaves  the hall of remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, 03 September 2018. Duterte is on a four-day visit to Israel, the first visit by a Philippine president since the two countries' establishment of diplomatic relations in 1957, media reported.  EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN
President Rodrigo Duterte  (EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN)

Amid reports of a typhoon-triggered landslide that buried gold miners in Benguet province, the President said he was “hell-bent” to stop mining that destroy the environment, particularly open-pit operations.

Duterte said the government was ready to lose the P70 billion revenues from the mining sector than risk further damage to the environment.

“I am hell-bent to stop destructive mining in the Philippines….The open-pit mining must stop,” Duterte said during a meeting with government officials on typhoon relief efforts in Ilocos Norte Sunday.

“It would result in a perdition for the country. Ako talaga, ano ako. It has to be, I think this year. Although in the process, we lose aplenty, 70 billion. But that is… you know, if you compare that money, we can always get it somewhere else,” he added.

Duterte said open-pit mining operations have left bottle cap-like holes on lands, causing environmental hazards such as soil erosion.

The nearby communities are “always in danger” due to the open-pit mines, he added.

“I pity my country. And if I do not decide really to stop it, although we are 70 billion sa taxes sa mining, but if you compare it with the destruction and on the long term, our children will suffer,” he said.

“Mining must stop. And if I cannot stop it during my time as President, nobody can because it’s big business and the pressure is just too great,” he added.

Duterte said the protection of the nation is the “only one thing” in his mind.

“Wala akong agenda diyan. I do not want to talk to them,” he said about the mining firms.

He said miners could go instead to Australia or other countries that have a different mining method. “They can do it but not the way it is being done today,” he added.

They can do it but not the way it is being done today because I said it will be — it would result in a perdition for the country.

The President made the remarks after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu informed him about the mining tragedy in Itogon, Benguet during the Ilocos Norte situation briefing.

As of Sunday afternoon, Cimatu said 40 small-scale gold miners were buried when a landslide hit a mining shelter in Itogon.

“Seven were retrieved and only one survived as of now. And I’m planning to go there early morning tomorrow (Monday) to find out if we can still recover these missing — these 33 missing,” he said.

He said the miners did not heed government warning to leave the area amid the anticipated heavy rainfall due to the typhoon.