By: Elena Grace Flores
President Rodrigo Duterte is gain forgetting that he became the President of law-abiding Filipinos as well as those who are non compliant. While it is good that he is backing up Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s fierce campaign on the proper implementation of environmental laws, he must know also that there are many small miners who will lose their livelihood when he acts abruptly like the Ceasefire announcement at his first SONA.
Duterte warned mining companies recently to comply with environmental rules or risk being shut down, saying the country will survive without mining revenues. Then, he should be ready with alternative programs because he will surely piss off many mining companies. Perhaps, he should be interested in knowing what kept those mining operators from not following the guidelines? Does it cost them so much money? Is there a way around it or how can the government help in achieving those environmental goals?
“I can forego the P40 billion I collect from you, and the Filipinos will survive without you. Either you follow strict government standards or you close…,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Malacañang but as usual, he uttered this without careful consideration. How could he lose P40 billion of mining taxes when he cannot even pay the double salary he promised to law enforcers during his campaign? Think about that.
Environmental Secretary Gina Lopez might be a brilliant lady – but her job is only one side of the coin. Duterte should have consulted the labor department, the business sectors and livelihood crusaders on how to be environmental-friendly despite the mining operations in the country?