Duterte told to hold temper on mining policies-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
DAVAO CITY Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reiterated Sunday his stance against mining operations in the city despite President Benigno Aquino III's issuance of executive order (EO) No. 79 last week.
Malacañang asked the Duterte to hold his temper in treating President Aquino's recently released policy on mining.
Aquino signed on July 6 EO No. 79 "institutionalizing and implementing reforms in the Philippine mining sector providing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources."
Duterte said he is opposed to mining long before Aquino took his post as President of the Philippines two years ago, or before he signed EO 79.
"I'd like to inform the national leadership, my opposition began way back," he said.
He also said local government units have nothing left to do to stop the implementation of the executive order after its issuance last week, considering that an executive order would always be more superior than the ordinances and resolutions, in which cities and municipalities will have to pass.
"The resolution and ordinance will serve as a reminder to the National Government of our sentiments towards the EO," he said.
Duterte also mentioned a pending bill in the House of Representatives, authored by Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab prohibiting any mining activities in the city.
The President's executive order on mining received both positive and negative feedbacks from different business sectors, local government units (LGUs), and environmental groups in the past few days of its issuance.
For some LGUs and environmental groups, the EO prevents all local governments to pass any ordinance banning mining operations in their respective localities, as its provision will require LGUs to conform with the National Government's mining policy.
But Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Duterte should carefully study EO 79 before making strong judgments about it.
"If [we] look at EO 79 carefully, perhaps, we could not make such drastic response because the President establishes consistency between the national and the local and we believe that in the framework of that EO, that is very possible," Valte said.
Last Friday, Duterte said that he will continue to ban mining in Davao City and he is ready to defy Aquino's executive order if necessary.
He said he agrees with Aquino on the primacy of national over local laws but he stressed that the EO "will not work" in his city.
Duterte said Davao City will remain off-limits to mining and there is no need for an ordinance to support the policy.
Asked if the Palace will respect Duterte’s stand, Valte said: "I asked the DENR in order to enlighten me also on this issue and they said assent of local governments is needed when signing contracts. If they will not agree that’s where the process ends."
Meantime, Malacanang refused to comment on Duterte’s alleged human rights violation for forcing an accused swindler to eat his counterfeit documents.
Valte said the incident is already being investigated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"I'm pretty confident that the DILG will be getting its hands on that and will include it in their fact-finding investigation. We will refrain from making any comment pending the result of the investigation," she added. (With Jill Beltran/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 16, 2012.