Duterte to big miners: “you have to stop;” small miners: “we will support you” – by Carolyn O. Arguillas (Minda News.com – June 5, 2016)


DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 June) — Large-scale firms engaged in destructive mining in Mindanao have no place under the Duterte administration as President-elect Rodrigo Duterte vowed to give priority and assistance to small-scale miners who will band into a cooperative. “The mining people must shape up,” said Duterte, citing the destruction wrought by big mining firms, especially in Surigao. “You have to stop,” he said.

Addressing thousands of residents and out-of-town visitors who attended the “One Love. One Nation” thanksgiving party at the Crocodile Park on Saturday night, Duterte said of these big mining firms, many of them Manila-based but operating in Mindanao: “They’re spoiling the land. They’re destroying Mindanao.”

What is more painful, he added, is that even the Moro people who have been marginalized due to historical injustices, remain along the marginal side of business endeavors in Mindanao.” That has to change,” he said. “I would like it to be a cooperative of mga Pilipinong gakutkot diha” – referring to small-scale miners – “and we will just support them and give it to them and give them instructions on how not to end up spoiling the land natin dito.”

“Mauna muna ang mga taga Mindanao na mahirap” (Priority will be given to poor Mindanawons),” he said as he announced that “lahat ng mga mining na mga malalaki at sumira ng atin(g lupa) will have to stop. Mangita silag laing negosyo. (all big mining firms that destroyed our land will have to stop). They have to stop. They have to stop.”

During his campaign sorties, Duterte would show, and his campaign staff would distribute one-page fliers showing photographs of the mine site of San Roque Metals, Inc. (SRMI), a nickel-mining company in Tubay, Agusan del Norte whose operations the municipality had earlier petitioned President Aquino to stop due to alleged “destructive and irresponsible mining practices.”

Duterte alleged that during the campaign, administration bet Mar Roxas used planes of Eric Gutierrez, owner of the mining firm whose alleged violations of mining laws had gone unpunished because of his links with Roxas.

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