HAVING an anti-mining advocate head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is smart move on the Duterte administration.
For years, responsible mining has been pushed in the country and yet we are met with news of miners’ death, collapsing mining sites burying people alive and poisoning land, now with the newly appointed DENR chief, will something change?
A handful of companies practice responsible mining, often making it an urban legend.
The biggest mining mishap in the country was the Philex mine spill in Itogon that affected the Agno River and Balog Creek posing danger to biodiversity and source of income among local fishermen. Yet, the MGB declared that the mine tailings that spilled were not dangerous saving the company and allowing them to continue their operation.
In Mankayan, activists have been rallying against the ill-effects of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation which they claim to have affected their farms and ancestral lands.
But what seems to be a problem to others is the bread and butter of some.
Mining has been the primary source of income in some provinces of the Cordilleras and became a top contributor on the economic development of the region. Mining became a hope of the Cordilleran’s in making their life even better.
Despite its environmental and health risks, individuals continue to risk their lives in order to feed their family, going into the tunnels and living a life rooted in the underground.
Considering the economic contributions of mining the national government drafted several measures to promote responsible mining.
But how do we measure responsible mining?
Even big mining companies with responsible mining plans experience deaths accidents happen and exposition to mine tailings.
In the assumption of the new DENR top lady, we expect mining plans will be thoroughly reviewed and mining rules will be implemented.
Whatever happens in the coming administration, let us hope it is a decision that will benefit us all.