The “Presidentiables” and Mindanao 2010-2016 (5): Logging, Mining,

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 April) — How do the Presidential aspirants care for the environment. Do they care at all? Are they aware of environmental issues confronting Mindanao? Do they know that environment issues in Mindanao are peace issues as well?

Mining in Mindanao
Aquino:
I was being told about Mount Diwalwal in particular. The garbage. Yung poisoning of water system, etc. Again, I think all our laws are there, it’s a question of enforcing all of these pertinent laws. I’m not yet at the stage where I’m extremely competent or an expert on the subject but I do know already there are several problems that have to be addressed and all we have to do is to look at history and the experience of countries that had untrammeled mining operations ongoing and the long term consequences.

Estrada:
It will depend as long as it will destroy our environment no, no way. At the same time we have to analyze and weigh everything, if it will be for the greater good for the greatest number.

Gordon

You cannot put the national wealth as a parochial concern. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on that but this is country that’s struggling and we can have responsible mining in the same way we can have automated elections. I mean responsible mining is putting it into the hands of the community itself. The community must also learn how responsible mining must be undertaken. And it cannot be, we cannot do this in the name of protecting our environment we have to know whether environment is actually going to be harmed by many. Obviously there is so, there is some negatives or positives, class benefit analysis of everything. But over and above all if people don’t like mining in their community they have the right to say no mining in our community.

Perlas:
The real issue in mining is how is the mining done and I’ll give a number of factors that create such a controversy on mining. First, the environmental impact, the toxic methods. Second is the way they procure the rights to mine in specific area they actually the ECC — the Environmental Compliance Certificate — requires social acceptability. This is basically ignored and if they stand on the way there’s a lot of pay offs to local leaders and so what you get is a lot..
Exactly, and so what you’re getting here is that those ECC’s are faked. Most of them there not really authentic ECC’s and so you create a conflict. Number three, some of these mining permits are in ancestral domain lands some of them are in watersheds and then fifth is that we need to restructure the ownership of the mining industry so that there can be more benefit to the poor who are sitting in those resources. They can be a meaningful part. But they can only be meaningful part of the process if the mining methodology and technology is not destructive so it doesn’t harm their health nor does it destroy the environment. Now if all those five conditions are met, and are met really in an honest way, in an integral way then it’s possible to have a real mining process, a real mining industry that’s totally different. We can call this a socially oriented and possibly green mining. It totally depends on the technology.

Teodoro:
My stand is small scale mining has to go. Large scale mining, it depends on the sensitivities of the community and an honest to goodness geo-hazard appraisal of what it does, not merely into surrounding communities of the danger of landslides, mudslides, but the damage it can potentially do to the aquifers and aqua other sources of water. So it can be allowed, why not, but on a managed and controlled basis.

Villar
Definitely. Definitely (there is responsible mining).

There should be responsible mining. Hindi naman kasi kailangan nating pwede sabihin na basta hindi pwede yan, or hindi rin nating pwede sabihin na basta pwede yan. Meron tayong mining operations sa buong mundo ngayon na very responsible. At talaga namang malaki na ang i-nadvance ng technology sa mining. At dapat siguro gawin natin na kung magkakaroon man ng mining sa Pilipinas, dapat yung responsible. Yung mga irresponsible mining, hindi naman kasi dapat yan.

On Logging:

Aquino:
Especially when you go to through all of these areas that used to have abundant forests. I don’t want to go that far. Parang in Tarlac we have so many hills that do not have a single tree on them. Come the rainy season, Tarlac river rampages and in the dry months there’s nothing and our water table is really in a bad situation. Even getting potable water is a major operation in certain areas. So in areas where it hasn’t reached that point, shouldn’t we be protecting it to prevent that occurrence?

Estrada:
Why not if that is for the good of the environment. We have to study first before deciding on anything.

Gordon:
You know logging has constantly practically lost our forest cover in this country. I am not for a moratorium I’m for more aggressive, aggressive reforestation. In certain areas if you find a responsible company that will replant, I think we should, but at the moment I am for a temporary moratorium on logging.

Perlas:
Yes, I’m for moratorium on logging especially on primary forest because we really don’t have a primary forest left. I think basically we have only 7 to 800,000 hectares left all over the Philippines. This area should not be touched anymore because there’ a lot of newly planted forest that can be the basis of logging needs in the future.
So as far as the primary forest is concerned, I would propose a moratorium on all loggings on primary forest because we need to preserve the biodiversity left there. Even a sustainable forestry will take sometime to create the kind of diversity that would allow the uniqueness of the species to exist which are already found in the primary forest.

Teodoro:
You know, we have to study it. In general, yes. First until we get an inventory of the area where we can cull, we can cull wood. Because you know if the forest cover becomes too thick, it’s not also very very healthy, but definitely in areas where there are communities below which can be subject to landslides, mudslides and whose aquifers are not recharged anymore because of slash and burn farming, we have to impose it. You know in my experience you know even information I got from certain islets in Palawan, the most dangerous enemy of logging aside from the small scale illegal logging is slash and burn farming.

Vilar:
Since nagsimula akong magtanim, mahigit isang milyong puno na ang natanim ko. Bagamat hindi ako nagki-claim na environmentalist pero yan ay minamahal natin yan at mahalaga na ang mga natitirang forest natin ay maipreserve. Kaya para sa akin dapat tumigil muna. [Tomorrow: Goin’ Bananas] (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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