Environmental groups said they are counting on Vice President Leni Robredo to implement new mining policies once elected president in next month’s Philippine elections.
“One of the many reasons why we are supporting the Leni-Kiko [Pangilinan] tandem is that they have the clearest positions about the extreme reversals on mining regulations,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.
In an online forum on April 20, Dulce said the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has reversed several mining policies, including the lifting of an executive order that prohibits the government from entering into new mining agreements.
He said that Robredo, meanwhile, has been clear on her plans to reverse the lifting of the suspension on new mining applications and to implement “no-go zones” on areas that are critical.
“Her senatorial slate also includes those who were long-time environmental champions pushing for new mining regulations and rationalize management of mineral resources according to the needs of the people and nature’s limitations,” Dulce added.
In April last year, Duterte lifted the moratorium on new mining agreements, and in December, he ended the four-year ban on open-pit mining, supposedly to stimulate the mining industry and help the economy recover from the pandemic.
Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of the group Alyansa Tigil Mina, said the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem has committed to look into existing policies and science to come up with a policy on open-pit mining.
He said pro-environment groups have been consulted by the Robredo camp on concepts and projects. “So, we can clearly rely on them for new mining policies,” said Garganera.
“We believe, and we are convinced, that they will understand the mining issues,” he added.
In January, Robredo signed a “green covenant” with various environmental groups, committing to a shared responsibility “to a people-centered sustainable development.”
The covenant aims to “ensure food security, human rights and preserve our country’s biodiversity, natural resources and ecological landscapes for the welfare of all.”
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