MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday said he would back policies on responsible mining should he win the presidency in 2022, underscoring the Philippines' need to create more jobs and generate additional income to survive the global pandemic.
The mining industry should be "strengthened" and expanded by creating factories that can process responsibly-mined minerals, Domagoso said in an interview with Boy Abunda.
"Sa hirap nang epekto ng pandemiya sa ekonomiya, we need to generate more foreign direct investments, more jobs, more sources of income," he said.
(With the effects of the pandemic on our economy, we need to generate more foreign direct investments, more jobs, more sources of income.)
"We cannot keep on taxing people more para mapatakbo ang ating gobyerno (for us to run the government)," he said.
Domagoso said his support for the mining industry does not include open pit mining and "backyard" mining operations.
"Mining has to be an industry. Hindi puwede mag-backyard ng mag-backyard at maging iresponsable na lamang," he said.
(You cannot just keep on engaging in backyard and irresponsible mining.)
"Those who will violate, no matter how big they are, they will be shut down," he said.
A Domagoso administration will also support the establishment of mineral processing factories to ensure that the Philippines would benefit from the sale of higher-value items yielded from local mines.
"Kapag nagbukas tayo ng mina, dapat may industriyang nacre-create," he said, citing the construction of steel factories as an example.
(When we open mines, additional industries should be created. We should come up with a plant producing steel.)
"Hindi lang tayo dapat mahinto sa pagmimina (We should not stop with just mining). It should create another industry to produce such material," he said.
In December 2021, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued an order to lift a nationwide ban on open-pit mining, which has been in effect since 2017.
The open-pit mining ban was imposed in 2017 by then Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, who cited its destructive nature and potential for a disaster.
The Manila mayor said he is open to receiving campaign donations from mining companies provided that these firms did not engage in illegal operations.
"Kung yung mina na pinanggalingan ay hindi ilegal, at responsable yung negosyo nila, why not?" Domagoso said.
(Why not if it came from a mine that is not engaged in illegal activities, and the business is responsible?)
"Kailangan ko ng lahat ng tulong."
(I need all the help I can get.)