- DENR Secretary Gina Lopez said that the Philippine Mining Act is 'unfair'
- She revealed that the law does not protect the communities where these companies are located
- Lopez is an anti-mining advocate
Gina Lopez, the Secretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, revealed that it is high time the country change its mining act, stating that it an unfair law.
“We have to change that,” the environment secretary says, referring to the Mining Act of 1995.
The Philippine Mining Act, the secretary claimed, is skewed towards the mining sector, and not towards our people making it unfair. She revealed that the mining companies have said that they are giving to economy.
“Out of P35 billion net, P29 billion pumupunta sa mining company, only P6 billion goes to the country, and out of that P6 billion, kaunting-kaunti [ang] pumupunta sa komunidad, like almost nothing (Out of P35 billion net, P29 billion goes to the mining company, only P6 billion goes to the country, and out of that P6 billion, only a small portion goes to the community, like almost nothing)," Lopez said.
READ ALSO: LOOK! Lopez suspends 4 mining companies
This call is in line with what environmental groups have been asking from the policymakers. Groups have called for the repealing of the Mining Act of 1995. These groups fight for a law that would protect the rights of Filipino mining workers, the local communities where the companies are situated, and the state interests.
Lopez has been an anti-mining advocate. However, she emphasized on Tuesday that she is not against mining and has nothing against the mining industry. What she is against is the suffering felt by the people in these mining communities.
"You cannot build an economy, a company based on suffering. I will not allow it to happen in DENR," she said.
Shortly after assuming the post as the department’s secretary, Lopez ordered all the mining companies in the country to be audited. This resulted in at least 4 companies being suspended due to violations of the environmental standards. These companies are Eramen Minerals Incorporated, BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Incorporated, Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation, and LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated.