Duterte to consult miners, Gina Lopez to 'rearrange' mining
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte intends to call on miners and his former environment chief Gina Lopez to "rearrange" the mining sector, possibly with the help of new legislation.
Speaking at an investment forum in Davao City, on Friday, July 21, Duterte stressed his determination to protect poor communities from mining operations.
"We have to go into, not even a compromise, we have to rearrange everything there. I will call on all the mining people and Gina Lopez and company, and militants on the other side, but only those who behave, in Malacañang," said Duterte.
He even hinted that new mining legislation may be in the works to turn into reality the kinds of reforms he wants for the mining industry.
"I'd like to tell you frankly, we will come up with new legislation because Bebot Alvarez, the new Speaker, hates mining, and he comes from a mining town," said Duterte, referring of his fierce ally in Congress, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Later in his speech, Duterte said raising taxes of mining companies might be one solution to address the negative impacts of mining operations on poor communities.
"Either I collect taxes, increase the tax so I can think of something to replace what they have lost, or you agree with the people there affected or hard-hit by mining," he said.
All he wants, said the President, is an "arrangement" that is "fair for everybody."
He admitted that because of mining laws, he cannot just stop mining completely. But he insisted that government and mining companies find a way to compensate people for loss of livelihood as a result of mining operations.
"Good mining means no people are really in pain. That should be the equation. Good mining equals there is no agony on the people," he said. – Rappler.com