Duterte asks Cimatu to "seriously take a second look" on possible closing of open pit mining
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Monday Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to take a "serious" look into the possibility of closing all the open pit mining operations in the country following the landslides that killed over 50 people in northern Luzon due to onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.
"That mining thing has really contributed a lot of heartaches for the Filipino people. It is time for us particularly the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), General Cimatu, to take a second look seriously now regarding the dangers of the open-pit mining," Duterte said in a situation briefing in Benguet where most landslides took place.
At least 54 died in the Cordillera Administrative Region and most of them were due to landslides, government officials said.
Duterte said if he has his way, he would close all mining operations in the Philippines even if it would mean P70-billion revenue losses annually.
"And if I were to try to do my thing, I will close all mining in the Philippines. Never mind about the 70 billion (pesos)," he said.
He, however, acknowledged the Department of Finance would oppose the closure of mining operations.
"Well of course the Finance people are the ones who would object first and I can understand because they are the guys who are tasked to look for the money and beg, steal, or borrow...for as long as they can produce money," Duterte said.
He cautioned that what happened in the Cordillera Administrative Region might also occur in Mindanao due to the mining activities there.
"What’s being done here is being repeatedly replicated in large areas of Mindanao, especially Surigao, Davao del Norte, and Oriental," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS