DENR to audit mining companies

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2016 07:21 PM

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), while not taking a completely anti-mining stance, will audit mining companies for compliance, the presidential spokesperson said.

"I think at the end of the day, what is truly important is to make sure that all the companies are compliant. I think what was agreed upon is that there should be an audit. There will be an audit," Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told ANC's Headstart on Friday.

He reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte has made it public that he is not totally anti-mining despite giving the environment portfolio to anti-mining advocate Gina Lopez.

Lopez herself explained that her opposition stems from the oppression it causes the community.

Duterte said Abella, is "aware of the revenue coming in" from the mining industry in the Philippines, and would like to keep the industry rosy, while still protecting people.

"[Duterte] is aware of the revenue coming in. So he does want that to keep the growing economy. He's very aware of that. He wants it to stay healthy. But making sure that people are not hurt," said Abella.

One of the criticisms of the Philippine mining industry, however, is that the minerals that the country exports are still raw and not yet processed.

Abella said the possibility of opening a processing plant for these mining products in the Philippines "will have to be a process," but the priority of the Duterte government is "to make sure that the people are no longer hurt and will not get hurt."

He added, the coal plants that are in the pipeline left by the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III will be reviewed, despite Duterte's promise not to touch penned contracts with the government.

Abella clarified, Duterte's statement means "no changing to favor certain people."

"Regarding existing things, these are going to be under study…[They will be reviewed] as everything else, I’m sure. Everything’s going to be looked at with fresh eyes," said Abella.