By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 26May2016 (BicolToday.com) – Not yet setting foot in Malacañang, presumptive-President Rodrigo Duterte is reminded by youth partylist group, Kabataang, to review all mining claims and revoke mining operations found destructive to the environment.
Kabataang Partylist is one of the progressive blocs which has already spelled out before the presumptive President its list of urgent concern.
Few days ago, the partylist youth group is planning to give Duterte a painting depicting the student protest movement, serving as reminder for the incoming President to scrap K-12 and to impose a halt to tuition fee hikes. (Read news link: http://bicoltoday.com/2016/05/24/painting-depicting-the-student-movement-gift-for-duterte-reminder-to-stop-k-12-tuition-fee-hikes/ ).
“Now is the perfect time to review all mining licenses, Mr. President.” This was the statement of Kabataan Party-List Rep. Terry Ridon in reaction to incoming President Duterte’s policy statements on mining and the environment
The next president was quoted in news reports stating his opposition to destructive mining activities and its effect on the environment.
Ridon, an environmental lawyer and member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said that licenses given to mining firms such as SR Metals Corp. should be reviewed and subsequently revoked.
During the campaign, the incoming president criticized SR Metals and its owner Eric Gutierrez for underpayment of taxes and pretending to be a small scale mining company despite using heavy machinery in its operations.
“Our presumptive President-elect should follow through with this criticism of SR Metals and order them to cease operations immediately,” Ridon asserted, informing online news BicolToday.com in Naga City.
Ridon initiated congressional inquiries against large mining firms which has led to suspension of operations, such as nickel mining activities in Zambales province.
Ridon, outgoing Partylist representative, will be replaced by Sarah Elago, incoming Kabataang Partylist representative, as the youth group had won a seat in the House during the May 9 elections.
“It would also be sound policy for the next President to order the next DENR Secretary to determine continuing compliance of mining areas with their respective environmental compliance certificates (ECCs),” said Ridon, confident that Elago shall continue their legislative agenda in the upcoming 17th Congress.
Ridon underscored the need of continuing compliance of ECCs to ensure environmental protection of mining areas, including those near settlements and biodiversity areas.
“We have great hope that the President will listen to our calls to review all mining licenses,” he said. [BicolToday.com]