By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has authorized the military to bomb open-pit mines that would defy a government ban on such mineral extraction process.
Even if it would result in lower government revenues, the President said he has opposed open-pit mining given the damage that it inflicts on the environment.
“If some open pit mining will still be operating, I’ve instructed the Air Force to bomb it,” Duterte said in the Visayan dialect during an assembly of rebel returnees in Malacañang last Wednesday.
“The pits will be made even larger and when it explodes, everything will be buried along with it,” he said.
The President said he already told the Cabinet about his position against open-pit mining that has caused huge holes in some parts of the country.
He said he would no longer allow the environmental situation to worsen due to this destructive form of mining.
“I think that the tax will be lower for the mining companies but I will ban the operation of open pit mining,” he said.
“I told them that I am not in favor of of allowing the operations of open pit mining because it is destroying my nation,” he added.
Duetrte said it pained him to see the holes made by open-pit mining that resembled “fish ponds” and “bottle caps.”
“Everywhere you look, there are holes made by mining. When it rains, the holes will store the rain water. It will soften the soil and cause landslides,” he said.
“That is the state of our rural areas. It’s really not good,” he added.
The country’s mining law allows open-pit mining but then Environment Secretary Gina Lopez banned all prospective open pit mines during her brief stint in office.
The President later agreed with banning open-pit mining due to the damage caused on the environment. He has rejected a recommendation from the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) to lift the ban.
“I’ve already told (Environment Secretary) General (Roy) Cimatu. I told him, ‘Look at the situation closely Roy. Don’t go into mining because the mining industry is already very big and I won’t allow the situation to worsen,” Duterte said last Wednesday.