WHAT have large-scale mining industries done in the island of Mindanao in the past three years?
For a start, mining in Mindanao has caused the loss of many lives and has devastated properties and worse is the execution of some environmental activists for defending their lands.
The root of all of this is when the Arroyo administration stepped down and when the Aquino administration took the position of the former.
Before the Arroyo administration ended its reign on June 30, 2010, former president Arroyo allowed almost 400 large-scale mining industries to work in some parts of the Philippines, 54 of which were located in some sites in Mindanao.
When the Aquino administration started its reign, President Aquino was already aware of the mining issues affecting Mindanao, but never took action instead he allowed the large-scale miners to work freely.
On February 1, 2011, President Aquino passed Executive Order (EO) number 23 which exempted the mining corporations from the logging ban. With this being passed, some mining companies began their operations by cutting down plenty of trees for them to dig up what they needed to find underground.
Then the consequences of President Aquino passing EO no. 23 backfired when typhoon Sendong entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on December 16, 2011.
The typhoon took away the lives of many and destroyed thousands of properties in Northern Mindanao.
After the typhoon, President Aquino still remained ignorant to what mining has brought about in the areas of Mindanao as stated by some environmental activists.
The mining issue continues to be a big problem when President Aquino passed another EO concerning, yet again, mining last July 6, 2012.
This was Executive Order number 79, an act 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.
In short, President Aquino is still allowing large-scale miners to work in the areas of the Philippines provided that they will abide by the rules written in EO no. 79.
Again President Aquino’s actions backfired when another typhoon entered in the Philippine Area of Responsibility last December 2, 2012. This was typhoon Pablo.
Yet again so many lives were lost and so many properties were damaged in that phenomenon.
The root cause of this so much destruction, according to some environmentalists, is the mining companies cutting down trees in some areas where Pablo struck.
Now, mining in Mindanao is still a big issue for all environmentalists especially for those who were affected during the devastating times of typhoons Sendong and Pablo. Some environmental activists still voice out the real issues that Mindanao is facing towards mining to the administration.
Before President Aquino took over, the Arroyo administration was the first one to start the mining issues when she approved many mining companies to freely work in the country.
Before President Arroyo stepped down, she did not do anything about the mining laws of the Philippines and passed the problem on to the next administration. The latter further worsened the problems of mining when the president passed two more Executive Orders.
Up until now the Aquino administration remains silent on the issue of mining in Mindanao and they just let any large-scale mining companies continue the work they are doing, leaving the locals in danger of what will future disasters bring upon them.
Some expressed that only Mindanao is suffering from all of the mining laws that the administration keeps on passing, but Aquino is not making a move to solve the issues that involve mining in the Philippines especially in Mindanao.
Some also expressed that President Aquino is to blame for the loss of many lives during the super typhoons that visited the country, still President Aquino still remains mum to what is really happening with the mining issues in Mindanao.
Environmental activists in Mindanao expressed that they will not stop the fight to abolish the mining laws of the Philippines.
*Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their Advanced Journalism subject.Earl Jon N. Africa