Mining firms should consider social cost – VP Robredo

Water pollution caused by mining operations in Surigao del Norte. MindaNews file photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 10 March) – Vice President Leni Robredo said mining ventures need to consider the social cost of their presence in affected communities over the economic benefits, Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said.

Robredo, who is seeking the presidential post in the May 9 elections, told reporters in an interview after her campaign sortie here that mining companies should ensure their responsibility to the communities within their areas of operation.

“At the end of the day, economic benefits should not outweigh social cost which should be the first priority,” Robredo said.

She also opposed the executive order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte lifting the moratorium on the government’s mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) with mining firms saying safeguards were not put in place.

Robredo said MPSAs were suspended due to concerns which needed to be addressed to prevent adverse effects not only to the environment but also the the communities.

The vice president in a forum with women lawyers last month said  she would scrap Duterte’s order lifting the 9-year mining moratorium should she win.

But she clarified she is not for an absolute ban on mining but would push for “responsible mining.”

She added she would push for the passage of a National Land Use Act which would identify mining zones in the country. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)