By: Ellalyn de Vera-Ruz
Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez wishes to speak with President Duterte to prevent the lifting of the ban on open pit mining, which she ordered when she was still DENR chief.
In a press conference yesterday, Lopez reiterated the reasons for the ban on open pit mining, which she said needed to be addressed and considered in the review of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).
“We already have many open pits here. Tama na. Whatever is there, let us see what we can do with it but to lift the ban and put more open pits…stop it. We already suffered enough so stop it already,” she said.
She noted that the miners will not stay “forever” in their concession areas and the Philippine government will “be left to shoulder the maintenance works,” making it a “continuing financial liability to our government.”
Lopez also pointed out the serious effect of open pits on the economic potential of the area.
“There are at least 14 open pit mines in the Philippines – 10 of them are abandoned or suspended, while five are filled with toxic acid water and/or heavy metals,” she said.