Press Release
April 3, 2014

Stop open-pit mining; it does not solve poverty,
it perpetuates it -- Pimentel

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today urged local government units to disallow "open-pit mining" that have turned precious farmlands into a moonscape.

"We cannot allow the unabated destruction of our land and water resources due to open-pit mining. It is deplorable and it must not continue," Pimentel said, amid the latest warnings that the costs of inaction on climate change will be "catastrophic."

He deplored the continued small-scale operations using high-pressure water pumps and backhoes to excavate vast tracts of farmlands in a hunt for gold.

One gold-rich mining town reported to have experienced the destruction of several hectares of farmlands is the town of Barobo in Surigao del Sur. One small-scale mining operation, said to be just 200 meters from the highway, allegedly has a temporary permit from the province's governor.

A miner could get about 100 grams of gold per day, the report said following the recent resumption of the mining operations financed reportedly by Taiwanese investors.

Pimentel, who has championed environmental protection and preservation, said LGUs should be more aware of the impacts of the destruction of the environment and climate change.

"Unabated mining does not solve poverty, it perpetuates it. It benefits a few but the destruction it causes affects entire communities, not just in this generation but those in the future as well," he said.

He urged local government leaders to go for long-term solutions rather than short cuts, and to adjust their development plans to the requirements of environmental preservation and climate change mitigation.

Some impacts of environmental degradation, he said, include "higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability."

Pimentel said most of the time it is the foreign investors who raked in enormous profits from the illegal mining operations, leaving the crumbs to Filipinos they employed to dig up the mining sites.

News Latest News Feed