Leyte – President Benigno Aquino III expressed a disagreement with environmentalists’ calls for a ban on mining in the country, saying such a prohibition would result in the spread of small scale mining operations that would be difficult to check due to their number.
This developed as Aquino ordered a panel composed of the country’s top environment officials to craft a mining policy that will ensure the environment is protected while at the same time maximise the industry’s benefits for the country.
“When it’s difficult to regulate, that means, like what happened in Romblon, there will be a substantial amount of mercury that will find its way in our water resources,” President Aquino told reporters following his attendance at the 67th anniversary celebration of the Leyte Landing.
“So the solution really is large-scale (mining) that has the capability to correct the damage to the environment but would avoid damage to begin with,” he added.
The officials, who will craft the policy in consultation with the industry’s stakeholders, are Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Laguna Lake Development Authority Administrator Nereus Acosta, Cimate Change Commissioner Mary Ann Lucille Sering and Presidential Adviser on Ecological Affairs Elisea Gozun.
“I have tasked (them) to sit down, craft the mining policy that will merge two things at the end,” President Aquino said.
“Number one, we will make sure it is regulated to safeguard the environment, maximise what would go to the government and to the country. Second, preserve our potentials especially in eco-tourism and really nurture our environment,” he added.-By Norman Bordadora