KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/05 September) — Key officials of Davao del Sur have declared support to the mining bill filed by progressive members of the House of Representatives that seeks to protect the country’s environmentally-critical areas.
In a forum held at the Holy Cross gym in Digos City on Saturday, provincial board member Nonito Llanos III and Digos City Vice Mayor Reynaldo Hermosisima said they will sponsor resolutions endorsing House Bill 4315, which is known as the “people’s mining bill”.
Authored, among others, by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, the bill aims to protect watersheds, key biodiversity areas, places vulnerable to acid mine drainage and those exposed to geo-hazards, small island ecosystems, as well as remaining forests.
Casino was the main speaker in the forum attended by around 200 participants, mostly from the agriculture and environment sectors in Davao del Sur.
Hermosisima said he would ask the Digos City council to pass a resolution urging Congress to support HB 4315.
The vice mayor and Llanos said they would include in the resolutions their strong opposition to the mining exploration activities of Sagittarius Mines Inc. in the provinces of Davao del Sur, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
Rev. Daniel Palicte of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines said that the proposal, which they consider a “people’s mining bill,” is totally opposed to Republic Act 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995.
Palicte said RA 7942 has allowed Sagittarius Mines and other large-scale mining companies to operate without limitations.
“Unlike RA 7942, the people’s mining bill will retain the 60% Filipino and 40% foreign ownership. It also develops national industrialization that responds to the domestic need to create processing capacity for industrial metals. This integrates mineral development in agricultural production and prohibits mining in areas devoted to food production,” said the pastor. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)