De Lima lauds veto on lifting open-pit mining ban in South Cotabato

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PHOTO COURTESY: SAC Marbel

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima commended South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. for vetoing the controversial local measure passed by the Provincial Board two weeks ago lifting the ban on open-pit mining in the province.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she is glad that Tamayo heeded the calls of various groups and individuals who called on him to veto the amendment of the 12-year-old local environmental code, which would allow open-pit mining.

 “I laud South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. in his veto of the Provincial Board’s lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in the province. Mabuhay ka, Gov.! Thank you for doing the right thing,” she recently tweeted.

 It may be recalled that De Lima, in an earlier handwritten statement, urged Gov. Tamayo to veto the said Provincial Board’s amendment of the local environment code on open-pit mining.

“I implore South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. to listen to the people and veto the amendment. The ban on open-pit mining in South Cotabato must stay. No person or corporation has the right to mine over the objection of the communities affected by it,” the lady Senator stated in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1264 issued last May 23.

Tamayo reportedly announced his decision in a public statement last June 3, a day before the deadline for him to act on the amendment of Ordinance No. 22 or the South Cotabato Environment Code.

“I am informing the general public of South Cotabato that Resolution No. 137, enacting Ordinance No. 23 series of 2022 amending pertinent provisions of the Environment Code of South Cotabato, is vetoed by the provincial governor,” he said.

 Invoking the language of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160), which allows Local Chief Executives to veto local ordinances, Gov. Tamayo issued his veto last June 3 “for being prejudicial to the public welfare and inimical to the overall interest of all South Cotabateños”.

De Lima said the veto of the Provincial Board’s lifting of the ban on open-pit mining in South Cotabato will benefit both the people and the environment.

 “Sa lahat ng pagkakataon, pangunahing konsiderasyon dapat ng mga pinuno at lingkod bayan ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mas nakakarami. Isang paraan dito ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan,” she said.

 “Kailanman, walang halaga ng pera, gaano man ito kalaki, ang makapapalit o makatutumbas sa halaga ng napinsalang likas yaman, lalo na sa buhay ng mga kababayan nating maaaring mawala o malagay sa peligro dahil sa pagkasira ng kalikasan,” she added.

It may be recalled that De Lima, during her stint as Justice Secretary, created a task force led by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a crackdown on several illegal black sand mining operators in Cagayan and Ilocos Sur. The move led to the filing of charges against several individuals.

De Lima also filed proposed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1075 seeking to prohibit black sand mining operations in the country which continue to wreak environmental havoc while placing people’s health and livelihood at great peril. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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