Mining firms in the country welcomed the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to crack down on illegal mining operations.
Environmental Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera said after closing illegal dumpsites, they will partner with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to go after illegal mining, logging and fishing activities.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the government needs to address the “environmental degradation by enterprising individuals.”
“It is not enough that we are legal. We must primarily be responsible miners. The Chamber has always called for stricter measures in going against illegal miners as these are the ones who do not contribute to the economy of the country and do the most damage to the environment,” Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) vice president for legal and policy Ronald Recidoro said.
“Members of the Chamber are covered by a strict edict to safeguard our people, the country’s interests and the environment. We will continue to adhere to the tenets of responsible mining and support efforts of government to weed out the irresponsible miners who conduct their business without regard for the law,” Recidoro added.
DENR secretary Gina Lopez previously ordered a stop to small-scale mining activities, which put a hold on 60 percent of the country’s total gold production.
Lopez delcared the small-scale mining operations outside the Minahang Bayan illegal. Minahang Bayan streamlines the processing of minerals in the country, enabling the government to monitor gold production.