MANILA – Deadly landslides are a reminder that the Philippines is unfit for open-pit mining, former environment secretary Gina Lopez said Wednesday.
Dozens of people were killed after Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) triggered a landslide that buried mining bunk houses in the mountain town of Itogon, Benguet.
"For me the biggest message here is that we are really not fit for mining because look at what happened when the typhoon hits, there’s a landslide sinong nagdudusa? Yung taong doon nakatira," Lopez told DZMM.
"So to have open pit mining in a country like this is crazy. That’s why whenever there’s mining, the people suffer because we are in a geohazard zone,” she said.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines on Monday urged the government to intensify its crackdown against illegal small-scale miners.
Lopez said the government should focus on large-scale miners because they "cause large scale problems."
Mine workers should be given alternative jobs that are related to the environment preservation, she said. Itogon can be developed into a tourism hub, she said.