President Rodrigo Roa Duterte salutes one of the awardees during his visit to Camp Juan Ponce Sumuroy in Catarman, Northern Samar on Oct 2, 2018.
Presidential photo/Robinson Niñal
Duterte mulls total ban on mining
Alexis Romero ( - October 3, 2018 - 5:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may push for a total ban on mining after the 2019 elections, saying the industry has damaged the environment and has caused deadly landslides. 

Duterte said mining could not be banned for now because the law allows it but this may change once a new Congress comes in.  

"There is a law allowing mining here in the Philippines. I won't intervene. That's up to Congress. But after this election, there will be new faces. I will try to implement a total ban on mining," the president said during a meeting with former communist rebels in Northern Samar last Tuesday.  

Duterte said while the mining industry contributes P70 billion a year to government coffers, its operations have softened the soil and have caused landslides. 

"The repairs needed after the landslide and assistance to the dead, perhaps the cost reached P70 billion times five. The environment has also been damaged. Like you, I also want it (total ban on mining). The problem is there is a law (that allows mining)," the president said. 

"Sirang-sira talaga ang bayan natin, nakakaawa. Mindanao, makita niyo parang tansan? Iyong Coke. Ganun 'yun. Madaming butas. Puno ng butas, butas, butas (The country has been severely damaged. It's in a pitiful state. Mindanao, have you seen it? It's like a bottle cap. Full of holes)," he added. 

Last month, Duterte said Congress has to repeal the Philippine Mining Act, saying mining has "contributed a lot of hearthache to the Filipino people." Duterte made the statement after a landslide triggered by typhoon Ompong left more than 70 people dead in Itogon, Benguet. 

"If we cannot end mining because of the law, to end mining...Congress will have to abrogate the law," Duterte said during a post-disaster meeting in Benguet last September 17. 

"Mining has been operating in this country uncontrolled," he added. 

Duterte also ordered the environment department to "take a second look" at the "dangerous open pit mining."

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