MAC: Mines and Communities

Reyes Seeks Superbody To Fight Eco-terrorism

Published by MAC on 2006-04-09
Source: Inquirer ()

Reyes seeks superbody to fight eco-terrorism

By Norman Bordadora, Inquirer - http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=72176

9th April 2006

Editor's Note: Published on page A3 of the April 9, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

EXPRESSING grave concern over the continued environmental degradation of the country's natural resources, Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes over the weekend asked all stakeholders to support his seven-point agenda that includes the formation of a superbody on environmental law enforcement. Reyes, a former Armed Forces chief of staff and secretary of interior, proposed the creation of an Environmental Protection Commission comparable to the presidential anti-crime task groups to go after poachers, illegal loggers and other violators of the country's environment laws.

"We intend to propose to the President the creation of an Environment Protection Commission, similar to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission to mobilize all resources of the government and the private sector to put a stop to the pollution and the destruction of our environment," Reyes said.

Reyes said that as a career member of the Armed Forces, a former secretary of national defense and later of the interior, he had always been involved in fighting terrorism and crime.

More harm and damage

"(The) degradation and destruction of the environment inflicts more harm and damage than any criminal or terrorist can hope to achieve," Reyes said.

He asked the private sector and big business to help the government ensure that laws against pollution and environmental degradation were implemented and produced results for the country.

"I call on the private sector to take a leading position in responding to the serious environmental challenges before us. Our real mission is to enable a partnership between the government and the private sector in a common quest to protect our environment and conserve," Reyes said.

Other points in Reyes' agenda include the need for responsible mining to generate revenues while sustaining mining resources, the completion of the country's geohazard map to forewarn communities of potential landslides and flashfloods, the revival of the Pasig River, arrest forest denudation, control air and water pollution, and the closure of all open and controlled dumps nationwide.

"We will accelerate the rehabilitation of abandoned and idle mining projects that continue to pollute our environment. We will prioritize the Marcopper mines in Marinduque, the Basay mining project in Negros and the Bagacay mines in Samar," Reyes said.

The Arroyo administration sees the mining sector as one of the keys to the country's economic progress. The Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the Mining Act of 1995, removing one of the major obstacles to mining exploration by foreign companies in the Philippines.

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