Duterte stops mining operations in Tumbagaan Island

Published January 12, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has ordered a halt to mining operations in Tumbagaan Island in Tawi-Tawi after expressing concern over the devastation caused on the environment.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Concerned authorities have also been directed to step up the forestation and other rehabilitation programs of the island as the President cited the importance of protecting the environment, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

The mining problem in the island, known for its nickel mining resources, was discussed by the President and the Cabinet during a meeting Monday night in Malacañang.

“The President is very much concerned about reports that the island has been completely devastated as a result of mining operations in the area. The island has, at this point, been completely mined out,” Nograles said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

“While rehabilitation efforts are underway, the President is issuing a directive to stop any and all mining in Tumbagaan Island and to step up rehabilitation of the area by planting more trees and other efforts of rehabilitation,” he said.

More actions will be considered as more light is shed on the state of the island and and the conduct of mining operations in the area,” Nograles added.

He said the President has repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting the environment since the start of his administration. Duterte also pushed for the strict implementation of the country’s laws on the environment.

“His commitment to preserve the environment is evident when he ordered the closure and rehabilitation of Boracay and in his directives that mining companies comply with laws, rules, and regulations that govern their operations,” he said.

Apart from the mining problem in Tawi-Tawi, the President and the Cabinet tackled law enforcement against child pornography, food security, the government’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccines, and the country’s credit rating.