Lawmaker supports governors vs Aquino mining EO

A PROGRESSIVE lawmaker expressed his support to at least 40 governors plan to challenge the Aquino administration’s new mining policy in the Supreme Court the moment it is signed, based on the statement of Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

“Local government units should really stand up against mining companies and assert their rights on mining operations in their localities, the national government should support them on this instead of siding with destructive mining companies,”Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said.

Casiño, author of House Bill 4726 seeks to close areas declared by local government units (LGUs) as No-Mining Zones from mining applications and operations, amending for the purpose the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

“There is a growing resistance to large scale mining in the areas where these operate. Communities from different provinces such as Albay, Capiz, Marinduque, Palawan, Romblon, Negros Occidental, Eastern Samar, South Cotabato and Zamboanga del Norte have passed provincial ordinances declaring a ban on mining operations and/or a moratorium on applications. The communities in host provinces are the ones directly affected by mining operations and therefore have the right to be heard,” the  solon said.

“Being an extractive industry, mining poses great threats to our fragile environment. Local government units must be given the right to chart the destiny of their environment. This bill seeks to do that by including among the areas closed for mining applications areas declared by local government units as no-mining zones, it also prohibits mining in prime agricultural lands as well as areas containing cultural properties,” he stressed.

“The national government and mining companies should respect and recognize local government ordinances banning mining operations in their respective territories. This is in keeping with the country’s laws and in recognition of the LGUs’ role to protect and preserve the environment and the people’s welfare,” the lawmaker added.

“There is a need to respect the prerogative of local government units to declare areas under their jurisdiction as no mining zones. The supposed mining EO of the Aquino government should not supplant this right of LGUs but instead support them uphold their power to regulate mining; LGUs will become more empowered and responsible to their constituents. By recognizing their role in the protection and preservation of the environment and the country’s natural resources for the present and the future generations, the people will participate more in the decision-making processes of the state,” Casiño said.

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