President Rodrigo R. Duterte has recently expressed alarming statements concerning the damages and adverse effects on our environment perpetrated by irresponsible mining and abusive miners in the country.

This scenario made a centrifugal spread of mixed reactions to different sectors and stakeholders nationwide. A bleak picture of our environment is painted on the canvas of public opinion. Corrective measure, therefore, is the exigent order of the day.

In a timely brilliant stroke, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu directed all Regional Directors of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in a Memorandum no. 2017-309 on July 14, 2017 whose subject treats of the Strict Monitoring of Mining Operations, Imposition of Penalties/Sanctions on Violations and Immediate Remediation of Effects/Damages. Emphatically, Secretary Cimatu called the attention of the MGB to implement the following:

  1. Strict and continuous monitoring of mining operations in accordance with the standards set forth under the existing mining and environmental laws, rules and regulations, particularly on the environmental, social and safety provisions thereof.
  2. Conduct of immediate investigation and imposition of appropriate penalties and sanctions on violations committed.
  3. Immediate implementation of appropriate remediation/rehabilitation of adverse effects/damages, including the prompt assessment and payment of compensation to the affected individuals.

It is to be noted that one of the Secretary’s advocacies is to scale up the level of the mining industry after it suffered from negative publicity. He also urges the MGB to produce more output for the betterment and advancement of mining in the country in order to rectify public perception as regards the many misinformation about mining.

Indeed, this is a challenge to the mining sector to go the extra miles in the long and winding journey towards the sustainable, responsible mining industry in the country.