New MinDA chair wants thorough review of mining practices

Published January 21, 2022, 1:33 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Newly-appointed Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Maria Belen Sunga Acosta said extractive industry practices need thorough review and operations of mining firms require close monitoring.

In a statement, Acosta acknowledged the contribution of the industry as one of the country’s economic drivers.

She added though that the review and monitoring of the mining industry are needed to “prevent pollution and contamination, distortion of ecological balance and damage to water systems.”

The siltation pond of a mining company overflowed to Mapagba River, and causes discoloration of the Pintatagan and Maputi Rivers in Banaybanay town, Davao Oriental, prompting the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Davao to issue a Cease and Desist Order to its operation.

“Economic development and environmental protection should go hand in hand. They should not cancel each other. Sustainable growth is the way to go,” said Acosta, a former councilor of Davao City’s First District.

Acosta said that the siltation and spill from a mining operation indicate early signs of environmental degradation, which could severely affect the river systems and coastal areas.

The Provincial Government of Davao Oriental announced, in a press release issued on January 17, that MGB undersecretary Atty. Wilfredo Moncano directed its regional office here to release an immediate stoppage order “to give way to a joint detailed investigation to find out the causes and the means to mitigate the damages” after a heavy siltation was observed in the affected rivers following a continuous downpour last January 14.

It said the MGB assured the company will be barred from resuming its operation unless it undertakes the corrective measures and comply with appropriate sanctions.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said that irresponsible mining is unacceptable because it “poses serious, long-term threats to communities and waterways” and that the “preservation and conservation of the environment should come first above everything else.”

 
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