Category Archives: mining


Opponents of open-pit mining hailed South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. for shooting down an amendment to the province’s 2010 Environmental Code that lifted the ban on the ming prac tice.

To suffer a fatal low fromTamayo’s veto of the amendment approved by the Provincial Board early last month, is the $5.8-B Tampakan Gold/Copper Project inTampakan municipality of the multinational Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

Tamayo said allowing open-pit mining is ‘prejudicial to the public welfare and inimical to the overall interest of all South Cotabateños,”in a letter to the Provincial Board explaining his veto.




NEVER mind that the mining industry is raising the specter of lost investments and revenues and massive unemployment if the government continues to look at the sector as something that the country can do without.

President Rodrigo Duterte has to make a choice between mining as a revenue generator and mining as a serious threat to people and the environment.
At this point in time, Mother Earth and the Pinoys are winning; mining could be on its way out of the country’s landscape.


THE DURIAN BEAT: Duterte and killing the mining industry


NEVER mind that the mining industry is raising the specter of lost investments and revenues and massive unemployment if the government continues to look at the sector as something that the country can do without.

President Rodrigo Duterte has to make a choice between mining as a revenue generator and mining as a serious threat to people and the environment.
At this point in time, Mother Earth and the Pinoys are winning; mining could be on its way out of the country’s landscape.
rbad1The government has suspended the operations of dozens of large local and multi-national mining companies for serious reasons among which is non-compliance with requirements to replant trees in mining sites ravaged by unregulated and irresponsible mining.
The President wants to stop the mining companies from further committing this sin against people, nature and the environment – a callous practice by the companies.
President Duterte has issued a verbal order that should give the mining companies a big headache.
Short of ordering them to do a miracle, President Duterte wants trees – as tall as he is –standing in the devastated mining concessions in six months. Of course, this is impossible to do, but we believe that the President can do hell and order the closure of the mining companies if he could not see the trees in six months.
President Duterte may have lost a jewel in former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation was crushed by Congress due to a strong lobby by the mining sector for hounding mining companies violating environmental laws and conditions of re-greening imposed by government permits.
For Lopez, responsible mining, the mantra of the mining industry that mining can balance economic development with environmental protection, in actuality is a myth.
Bald and denuded mountains without any vegetation in the mining concessions are graphic evidence of how irresponsible mining wrought havoc on nature.
If Lopez were still in command of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources today, there would have been no need for President Duterte to warn the mining companies because the rapists of our environment would already have been closed down by the DENR secretary. Environmental protection is on top of the agenda of Lopez who does not give a hoot about mining and the income it gives to the government.
Her proposal that government programs including tourism can be alternative employment generators and revenue-earners larger than mining if mining is outlawed has not been tested due to the unceremonious rejection of her confirmation as DENR secretary by Congress, many of whose members have interests in large-scale mining. Adding to Lopez’s woes is the fact that there are people in the President’s Cabinet who are involved in mining.
With President Duterte’s strong-arm approach against errant mining companies and his now clear agenda against mining, Lopez’s idea should see the light in the future. If we were the President, we will have Lopez back in the saddle at the DENR.
The closure of irresponsible mining companies as vowed by President Duterte is a sword hanging on the environmental rapists. 
After all, there is no way that the trees they would plant today would grow above the President’s line of sight in six months. Except if the mining companies have God on their side or if they could still bribe environment officials as they did in the past to close their eyes on the violations.
We understand why President Duterte hates mining.
He has first-hand knowledge of the evils that mining inflicts on the environment, people and peace and order.
He was the chairman of the Davao Region Peace and Order Council during his early days as Davao City Mayor and had come face-to-face with these evils as a spin-off from the gold rush in the 80s and 90s in Diwalwal, Monkayo in Compostela Valley.
The turf wars between large-scale and small-scale miners in the 739-hectare People’s Mining Area in gold-rich Diwalwal, at the tail-end of Mindanao’s “Mining Corridor” that starts in the Agusan and Surigao provinces, was a story of greed and violence and deaths.
Outside of the mine tunnels, unregulated plants processing ores into gold spew out deadly mercury and cyanide to pollute rivers and cause disease.
The economic side of the Diwalwal gold rush was one-sided: while mine owners laughed their way to the banks, the mine workers got the pittance, just enough to survive, with mining malpractices and lack of safety measures constantly threatening to bury them in the cave-ins and landslides.
In the underground bowels of Paquibato and Marilog districts in the uplands of Davao City’s 244,000 hectares are rich deposits of gold and other metals.
Foreign and local companies wanted to mine the precious metals but their greed never went beyond their evil intentions that were immediately shot down by the Davao City local government and its officials from President Duterte, when he was mayor and vice mayor, to Sara Duterte, when she was mayor and vice mayor, and former vice mayor Paolo Duterte.
To totally stop the entry of mining companies, the Davao City government declared the city as “mining-free.”
With government agencies tasked with issuing permits flooded with mining exploration applications, then-Mayor Duterte had at one point been accommodating by laying down conditions for him to allow mining: modern technology that reduces to the barest minimum risk to people and environment and statutes that would ensure the mine workers would financially benefit under a revenue-sharing agreement with the companies. Until such conditions are met, Davao City is mining-free.
But Duterte also bared his reason why he is vehemently against mining which finally drove away from the mining companies.
Davao City’s mineral resources, he said, should be conserved as a “piggy bank” for future generations of Dabawenyos.
At the time, the promised revenues for the local government from mining was the least that Davao City needed.
Davao City was already an economically viable corporate entity able to respond to public services with its large annual revenue. As a premier city in Mindanao, it was experiencing a surge in investments that could ensure a highly functional local government unit. The city does not need the violence, the pollution and the social unrest that mining brings.
President Duterte may kill the mining industry but he should be supported for saving people and the environment.

If he did it in Davao City, the Philippines under President Duterte should also be mining-free. ALSO READ IN PNA

THE DURIAN BEAT: Duterte and the race to peace in Mindanao


President Rodrigo Duterte is racing against time to meet a deadline for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Congress itself is working overtime in putting the finishing touches and the eventual approval of the landmark legislation seen as the final and lasting solution to the Mindanao problem.
While Mindanao Muslims, in general, are all-out in their support, President Duterte believes that the BBL approval by Congress is not yet the light at the end of the festering, decades-old Moro problem, and is not leaving any stone unturned in a bid to clear whatever rough roads that may derail the BBL.
One of these roadblocks is the apparent apathy between two of the Bangsanoro’s leaders, who, while in solidarity with the quest for peace in Mindanao, are not totally in the same page in their views on many provisions of the BBL.
It is crucial, indeed, that President Duterte should smoothen the kinks and rough edges in Moroland by meeting with Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Nur Misuari of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
It would be a tragedy if the continuing rivalry, over who should carry the voice of the Bangsamoro, between the MILF and the MNLF should be allowed to jeopardize the quest for lasting peace in Mindanao and President Duterte’s timeline for BBL to be in place before he bows out of office in 2022.
Would you believe that there are Muslims in Mindanao who dislike being called “Moro”?
But it is not because they want to be called by other names, hate their blood brothers or sisters who call themselves “Moro” or that ethnic conflict is rending Moroland.
This is due to history.
Moro refers to the name ascribed to Mindanao’s first and original inhabitants by foreign invaders, and its continuing use today is perceived as derogatory by some Muslims.
Even Bangsamoro, the collective word used to refer to the Muslim population as an ethnic group with a distinct custom and tradition, is likewise frowned upon if used to refer to the “Moro nation.”
There had been, for years, intensive debates among the Muslims themselves on the Moro. At times at the sideline of the debates came mild threats against those who call Muslims in Mindanao as Moros.
Moro is a two-faced description to explain the debates. For those who despise it, cite its history as a name that denigrates Mindanao Muslims with blasphemy. Those who stand proud to be called Moros praise it as a unifying factor among the Muslims.
The sentiment against being called a Moro is that it is, to some, an insulting colonial tag, that still persist today, heaped on them by Spanish conquestadors in the 16th century.
Making the name more repulsive is the violent adjective, juramentado , attached to Moro at the turn of the century by the Americans.
Mindanao Muslims fiercely opposed the occupation of their homeland and the Americans were forced to develop the powerful Colt .45 1911 semi-automatic pistol against suicidal Muslim warriors who armed only with a kris would face American soldiers in a man-to-man combat. The “juramentado” is a criminal running amuck, an image that took Mindanao Muslims decades, after the Americans left, to erase.
Modern liberation movements starting from the 50s added further a bad meaning to the word Moro, as Mindanao Muslims’ demanded for self-determination and engaged a bloody war against the government. The Moro war killed thousands and displaced millions.
Happily, the bad connotations smeared in the past on the Moro, has been totally obliterated with acceptance of Moro as the name for Muslims of Mindanao, by Muslims themselves, the public in general and by the government.
The recognition is enshrined in no less than the proposed law that aims to carve out parts of Mindanao as the Bangsamoro of the Moros of Mindanao.
Still, the debate over Moro and Bangsamoro as representative of the Muslims of Mindanao, lingers.
Although the Muslim of today no longer abhor being called a Moro, the word having found acceptability, the debate over the use of the Moro that in the past spawned conflicts among Muslims and between them and Christians, has been revived.
It is sad that the debate, particularly in social media, has caught in its web the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the law that is on its last stretch of approval by Congress, that would give the Muslims a semblance of self-determination.
It is also sad that respected Muslim leaders, who cannot forget the past, are behind the resurrected debate over the Moro and Bangsamoro.
“I am greatly embarrassed, and ashamed if somebody calls me Moro or Bangsamoro,” said Lanao Del Norte Congressman Abdullah Dimaporo who is opposing the BBL.
First posted in, Dimaporo’s statement has crossed over to Facebook and is generating a whirlwind of comments from the pros and the cons thus, resurrecting an issue that should have been best forgotten.
Dimaporo aired his sentiment against the continuing use of Moro to describe Mindanao Muslims and its inclusion, along with Bangsamoro, in the BBL, during a recent widely-attended public consultation on the proposed law in Marawi City organized by the House of Representatives.
Dimaporo summed up his disgust at the tag: Moro is a shameful word, meaning ignorant, illiterate and pirates, coined in the 1600s by the Spaniards who invaded Mindanao and tried to Christianize the Muslims.
The statement of Dimaporo, contained in a news report by, has elicited a cacophony of comments and discussion and debate, from recollection of “historical injustice” committed during centuries of violence against the Muslims in the hands of foreign invaders to the state of affairs of the Muslims under the past and present administrations.
“Where is the justice for all of us who are offended by this Spanish insult?” said a commenter to a post by Marawi City-based Norodin Alonto Lucman, who reposted the story in his Facebook account.
And there are more who pitched side with Dimaporo:
“Nobody wanted to be called Moro because Moro meant marauder and pirate. The Spanish colonizers came to our shores and branded us as Moros because they considered us as ladrones , moros , magnanakaw . Ngayon, you find distinction and glory in being called Moro. Please don’t be fooled by those same enemies of our race. They are all the same dogs in sheepskins. They can fool us some of the time, but they can not fool us all of the time. The BBL Will eventually cause our people and territory to dissipate and then on, we can no longer be called a people, not even indigenous because we Will have no more territory to claim as ours, and our identity will be gone forever and become part of history.”
“There is an Identity Crisis.”
“If politicians have a little sense of self-respect, they should follow the lead of Dimaporo.
To be proud of the Spanish insult is totally mind-boggling.”
“This is a case of cultural genocide concocted by the Castillans .”
“Usurping a foreign identity.
Goddamn, mind-boggling!”
“Don’t change the name Muslim Mindanao.”
“The name Moros is racist. It’s politically incorrect.”
“We have constitutional rights to a proper identity.. can’t change the identity of the entire Muslim population to a made-up Bangsamoro.”
“Only wise, intelligent and learned people know how to react against colonial imposition against us. Others are silent bcos they have limited knowhow . Congrats to the Dimaporos.”
“If we do not want to be called Moro, what would you call people who originally inhabited Mindanao? My tribe is Maranao and also do not like to be called Moro not because I am ashamed but because I felt insulted knowing that being called a Moro meant being uneducated and uncivilized.
However, for the sake of unity in building our own territorial land , we must be united to one common goals for the benefit of our children’s children.”
“Bangsa” means nation. The Philippines should remain one integral nation, and not be divided into many nations.”
But there is another side to the coin. reports that Dimaporo’s statement “reaped negative reactions” and described as “against the aspirations of the Bangsamoro in attaining a just, and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Officials of the Federation of the Royale House and Sultanates of Lanao Del Sur, reports, were “wondering” why Dimaporo “cannot accept to be called as Moro or Bangsamoro when historical injustices were clearly committed by colonial powers and accepted by the government leadership.”
“The Bangsamoro people have the legitimate right to determine a political solution to the Moro Question, and this can only be realized through the passage of the BBL.”
“Let us strengthen our unity, and solidarity in facing various challenges ahead, and work hard for the passage of the BBL by Congress,” the sultanates’ leaders urged in the report.
President Rodrigo Duterte, has certified BBL as a priority bill, and is steering up Congress into its early approval.
While BBL is looked up to by many as the road to peace in Mindanao, we are mystified that there are still many Muslims who suffer from historical hangover over the word Moro, and in the process derail the collective efforts to find peace in Mindanao..
We are not saying that the debate over Moro and Bangsamoro is trivial.
But having gained acceptability, it is now time for Muslims to stop the debate and accept Moro and Bangsamoro not only as cultural and political identities of the Muslims of Mindanao but as well as a unifying factor in the search for lasting peace.

After all, Moro is the banner word in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the liberation movements that carry the voice of the Moros, who fought for decades for self–determination for the Bangsamoro. ALSO READ IN PNA