Duterte to decide fate of open-pit mining by December

STA. ROSA, Laguna — A decision on the ban of the open-pit mining in the Philippines will be decided by December, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday night.

In his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected Barangay Captains of Region 4 at the Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna, Duterte said that the mining law was an obstacle the government was facing in addressing the environmental problems in the country.

“Mining, I really want to ban it because it destroys our country. If you get to travel all around Mindanao, you will see it is like bottlecaps because of the diggings and landslides,” Duterte said.

“I am the President. I have to execute the laws. And if the law says that you’re allowed… Before, they are just digging holes. Now, it is an open pit. They would really just go around the top of the mountain until it is reduced to a few. Pero I will maybe, before December I will decide,” Duterte added.

Then-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Gina Lopez imposed the ban on open-pit mining in April of last year, through Department Administrative Order 2017-10.

A year after, Duterte considered the idea of extending the open-pit mining ban until 2019.

“Maybe next year, maybe, I will ban open-pit mining. Sleep on it,” Duterte said during a press conference on April 9.

In the same press conference, Duterte called on mining companies to start planting trees or he would close down their operations.

“Do not wait for the day of your sorrow. Six months, I do not want to see any bald piece of land there. If I don’t see trees as tall as me, better pack up your things, you can go, and that will be closed permanently,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, Duterte also said that if Mindanao would be properly cultivated, it could feed the entire Philippines.

However, this is not the case because using the region as a commercial area is not prohibited by law.

This is after Duterte said that the Philippines could not be rice-sufficient because “we should have been able to control the population commensurate to our resources but we did not.”

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