Comp hit for blocking Lopez’s confirmation
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur -- An environmental protection advocacy group lauded Environment Sec. Regina Lopez for cancelling 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) located in watershed areas, 27 of which are located in Luzon.
The Ilocos Network for the Environment (DEFEND Ilocos) praised the decision as “unprecedented in the history of DENR” and noted it as an “excellent follow through” after the closure order of 23 mining sites in the country.
“I think the DENR is now charting its proper course, putting the environment and the people’s welfare over mining revenue and profit. We hope that Sec. Lopez continues to hold her ground,” said Sherwin De Vera, the group’s regional coordinator.
The group earlier urged President Rodrigo Duterte to support Lopez on the closure of mines.
De Vera also added that beyond cancelation, the department should also conduct an investigation how mining companies where able to get permits and operate on watershed and critical habitats.
Meanwhile, the network called the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) attempt to block Lopez’s committee on appointments confirmation “act of a bully”.
DEFEND Ilocos claimed that COMP is pressuring lawmakers to turn down Lopez as payback for the mining industry’s campaign contributions.
“The danger of allowing corporations, especially mining companies to fund political campaigns is that, profit-driven entities are given clout over national policies, making our laws and economic thrust more favorable to greed than the people’s welfare,” said DEFEND Ilocos.
The group also assailed the COMP of not only practicing “muscle flexing” to make politicians protect corporate interest, but also give funds to the military and paramilitaries “to make way and protect their investments at the expense communities”.
This, according to the De Vera is the reason why most areas where mining operations are located usually hold the large contingent of government troops and massive human rights violations occur.