Protests in South Cotabato against open-pit mining intensify
Amid the intensified protests launched by residents of South Cotabato, Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. vetoed last June 3 the earlier resolution of the provincial council allowing the resumption of destructive open-pit mining in the province. In his statement the following day, he expressed that the resolution was rushed and that there were questionable provisions in it.
The governor sees no reason why the ban should be lifted because “it has long served to protect the people of South Cotabato.”
However, he recognized that the ban on open-pit mining is “ultra vires” or beyond the provincial government’s authority since a national policy exists allowing this. The said policy (Executive Order 130) was issued by Rodrigo Duterte last April 2021. Therefore, he also admitted that the veto will not affect the plan of Sagittarius Mines Inc. to continue operations, considered to be the most destructive open-pit mining operations in the province.
The veto was praised by environmentalists, religious and various sectors. They also called on the provincial council to recognize the decision and respect the opposition of thousands of citizens of South Cotabato. Leon Dulce of Kalikasan PNE added that the local government should reject permits allowing open-pit mining in the area.
The diocese of Marbel also joined the protest and pledged to remain vigilant.