31 August 2018

The expansion of mineral reservation areas is unsurprising considering the successive reversals in Duterte’s tough-talk on mining policy. There is the pending reversal of the closure and suspension orders for 24 of the 28 mines sanctioned by former secretary Gina Lopez. Recently, they also lifted the two-year mining exploration ban.

Opening up more lands to mineral reservations is clearly part of a ‘more business as usual’ scenario the Duterte regime is clearly pursuing.

This is not a move for fiscal equity, as the Duterte government probably purports, but a clear attempt to further wholesale our mineralized lands. The fact that this peacocking to foreign mining investors when outstanding problems in environmental and social regulations remain unaddressed runs contrary to the promise of cracking down on destructive mines.

When Duterte in his SONA told the mining industry to expect ‘radical reforms,’ indeed he delivered—in radically opening up more areas to mining. In his regime’s pursuit to attract more investors who would destroy the environment for a profit, we have seen how Duterte’s tough talk against big mines as nothing but lies and hypocrisy.#

Leon Dulce
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment