MANILA A Boracay Island rehabilitation model will be used in rectifying the small-scale mining practices and assist miners to be affected by the suspension of all small-scale mining operations in Cordillera the Autonomous Region (CAR), MalacaAang said Tuesday.
So tinanggap naman po ng paghamon ng administrasyon na itong nangyari sa Itogon, mabuti na lang po meron tayong model (So the administration accepts this Itogon incident as a challenge, it's good that we have model), and that model was Boracay, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
It's akin to rehabilitating the mined out areas in the Cordillera and it could be attempt to actually allow the environment to recover because this is actually the result of environmental degradation, he added.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu announced on Tuesday the issuance of a cease-and-desist order on small-scale mining operations in Cordillera in the wake of Ompong-triggered landslide that killed 37 people in a mining site in Itogon, Benguet.
Cimatu is also the chairman of an inter-agency task force assigned by President Rodrigo Duterte to supervise the six-month rehabilitation of the Boracay, which was once described by Duterte as a 'cesspool' due to sewerage and other environmental problems.
The country's famous beach destination is set to be reopened to the public on October 26 this year, according to Cimatu.
Like the Boracay rehabilitation, Roque said the temporary stoppage of Cordillera's small-scale mining operations will affect around 10,000 miners.
Halos kapareho nga 'yang numero sa Boracay (The number is similar to Boracay), Roque said.
We need to strike a delicate balance between the need to protect human lives and environment and the need to provide the right to livelihood, sa mawawalan ng trabaho sa industry (Those who will lose jobs in the [mining] industry), he added.
Roque said all concerned government agencies, led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment, will provide livelihood assistance to the affected small-scale miners.
That's the framework in Boracay. Sanay na sanay na tayo (We are used to this kind of situation). I guess we owe it to Boracay that people now, the agencies in government, know exactly what to do, Roque said.
Roque said he has no idea when the suspension will be lifted but the DENR is now reviewing applications for Minahan ng Bayan, a new concept designed to replace small-scale mining.
I don't know how long it will take him to review the application for Minahan ng Bayan. Clearly with all small scale mining suspended in the CAR, the only way it can resume is through the Minahan ng bayan, he said.
For the meantime, Roque assured that the government is committed to assist everyone, including the families of the victims of the deadly landslide, by providing them with alternative livelihood.
Right now, we are committed to assist everyone, those who will lose their jobs, Roque said.
He said the DSWD will provide the affected miners with cash-for-work like vegetable farming and tree planting.
During his visit in Benguet on Tuesday, Duterte said he would someday 'confront' Congress on the need to close the mining industry following the Itogon mining site tragedy.
He (Duterte) has insinuated already that it is right time for everyone to consider doing away with mining, Roque said.
Roque, however, said Duterte is amenable that his suggestion would need a legislative approval, possibly by repealing the Philippine Mining Act.
Kaya nga po ang sabi ni Presidente, kung ipapatigil ang pagmimina kinakailangan talagang ma-repeal o ma-amyendahan iyong Mining Code (That's why the President said, if will stop mining, the Mining Code has to be amended or repeal), he explained.
The mining industry has been contributing at least PHP70 billion to the government every year. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency