Environmental justice: The Philippines mining industry – by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid (Manila Bulletin – February 14, 2017)

http://news.mb.com.ph/

Pro-environment activists hailed President Duterte’s support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s order to close 23 mining corporations that had violated environmental laws. The basis of the DENR ruling on the closure of these 23 mining firm(out of a total of 41 firm) was that they were operating in functional watersheds.

They shall not be operating unless they appeal the decision which would become final when the President says it is. Water is important, Lopez says, and the green economy can actually create more jobs.

The 23 firms include One Asia Mining and Development Corp. in Bulacan, the Benguet Corporation, the country’s oldest mining company, the Benguet Corporation’s Nickel Mines, Inc., the Diversified Metals Corporation in Zambales, the Eraman Minerals, three mining companies in Homonhon, six firms in Dinagat Islands, and seven other firms in Surigao del Norte. In addition, five corporations were also suspended.

Lopez blamed the previous government and the DENR for not helping the communities affected by the mining operations. After the Surigao del Norte earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 tremor that left 6 people dead and about a hundred injured, the President said that the mines would remain closed unless they are able to restore what they have destroyed.

As expected, there was considerable protest from the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP). Department of Finance Carlos Dominguez worries over the impact of mine closure on jobs which could affect 12 million people according to the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC). The Philippine mining industry says the mine closure was “illegal and unfair.”

In Surigao alone, one mining corporation employs 10,000 people. The chair of COMP fears that the closure would have great impact on basic services and livelihood programs. Losses from mine closures are seen at P77 billion annually.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://news.mb.com.ph/2017/02/14/environmental-justice-the-ph-mining-industry/

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