When President Duterte assumed office, he promised that his administration would look into the state of minng in the country, especially with regards to its impact on the environment and on the surrounding communities. He nominated a staunch environmental advocate as Secretary of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) in the person of Gina Lopez. She conducted a review of mining companies with regards to their compliance with existing rules and regulations governing their operations, canceling and suspending those found non-compliant. Subsequently, her nomination was later on not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, composed of legislators from Congress, effectively removing her from office.
Here is the PMPI Press Statement on Mining Cancellations and Suspensions of non-compliant mining projects:
“It’s been a year since then Sec. Gina Lopez canceled and suspended non-compliant mining projects as well as those found to have violated the law. But even up to this day, these firms remain unpunished as they have appealed their cases and while on appeal, they can still continue to operate.
Every now and then, media news would tell us that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) will soon release its recommendations after review but until now, we have yet to hear from this body. We call on Sec. Roy Cimatu to uphold the cancellation and suspend orders. The mining projects were not suspended and canceled out of whim but as a result of the industry-wide mining audit conducted by the DENR.
We also call on the members of the MICC to uphold the cancellation and suspension orders. This body should have been looking closely at the industry from the very beginning. Consider community complaints and you’ll learn that almost all mining projects are laden with community resistance and human rights violations.
We call on President Duterte to remain steadfast in his order for the ban on open-pit mining to stay. We seek that he issue an executive order to strengthen such. While the country needs to develop, it must not be at the expense of the people and the environment.”
The Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is an advocacy and social development network of peoples’ organizations (POs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.