P-Noy not keen on mining ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 March) – President Aquino admitted that the country is “extremely vulnerable” to climate change but said he was not fully endorsing the idea of an outright mining ban proposed by the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines.

“Mining ban, magandang pakinggan (sounds good),” Aquino said in reply to the 18 proposals put forward by 700 town mayors who joined the climate change summit here Wednesday.

“But I’m told na ‘pag may (that if there are) resources and the large players will be out, the small-scale operations will come in which is more difficult to regulate,” he said.

The President proposed instead that government come up with a “convenient and good compromise” between a total ban and a heavily-regulated mining industry.

The mining ban was the ninth in the list of 18 resolutions to address climate change that Mayor Strike Revilla of Bacoor, Cavite read to the President during the summit.

Topping the list was their appeal to the President or Congress to boost the national government’s budget for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

The mayors also appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ”impose” the total ban in watersheds and forests.

Aquino said that from July 2010 to March 15, 2011, the DENR has confiscated a total of 6.9 million board feet of illegal logs in the country. He said that in Region XI, 73 wood processing plants have been closed.

“But the bad news is 20,000 workers are now looking for jobs,” he said.

In his speech, the President said he has issued an executive order banning commercial logging in the country.

Town mayors called on local government units to activate their respective climate change councils, come up with an integrated climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management plans, and intensify monitoring and evaluations of their disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation plans.

They also called for an increase in local government’s access to funding facilities and to support the passage of the national land use act, among others.

Aquino said his administration will also come up with a national land use policy. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)