Surigao City – At the sidelines of his visit here Sunday afternoon to look in on the damage caused by the magnitude 6.7 earth quake two nights ago, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed support for the decision of Environment Secretary Regina Lopez decision to clamp several erring mining companies.
“If Gina will close the mining, I cannot do anything about it, especially after what I saw earlier when I passed over the area. Especially also if they cannot return the mined places to the way they looked before they started extracting there.
“Surigao is the most mined part in this region. The way I see it, I might have to close them all,” Duterte said, after expressing dire concern over the scenes he personally saw during his helicopter flight passing through mountainous mining concession areas from Butuan City to Surigao City.
“Our revenue from mining is about PhP70 billion. Now, if only I could find an alternative source of livelihood or an industry that can replace the destructive mining sector,” the president said.
“I think we would really have to close them, because our mountains are devastated, and in most cases, from experience, they just leave the extracted area scarred and unhealed. If that’s the case, I will not allow it,” he said.
Nevertheless, the president expressed concern for those who will lose jobs in the mining industry closures.
Over the past week, the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to close 23 mining operations has meet with criticism and even threats to derail her appointment as DENR secretary.