Gov't vows assistance for 10,000 miners amid closure order

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) — Malacañang on Tuesday promised to provide assistance to over 10,000 miners who lost their jobs as the government ordered the closure of all small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera region.

"Right now, we're committed to assist everyone na nawalan ng trabaho (who lost their jobs)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

He discussed steps the miners can take for alternative sources of livelihood.

First, they can undergo training at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to learn a new skill, Roque said.

The Social Welfare Department will also offer a cash for work program where miners will plant vegetables and trees, while the Labor Department's "Tupad" or emergency employment program will hire the miners for 10 to 30 days.

Roque said the closure of the Cordillera Mountains to mining operations was akin to the closure of Boracay Island for rehabilitation. The Palace, however, has yet to provide details on plans to rehabilitate the Cordillera.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday ordered a stop to all small-scale mining operations in the Cordillera Administrative Region for an indefinite period of time. He has also ordered a "stricter" review of all applications for mining sites throughout the country.

The Environment Department in a press release Tuesday said Cimatu made the decision upon learning that 10 associations of small-scale miners had been granted temporary mining contracts in Itogon town in Benguet, pending the declaration of a Minahang Bayan, or an area where small-scale mining activities are allowed.

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his intention to "close all mining in the Philippines" following the deadly landslides in Itogon, where rescuers retrieved at least 35 bodies after Typhoon Ompong. Meanwhile, authorities hope to rescue at least 60 trapped people from an abandoned mining site there.

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his intention to "close all mining in the Philippines" following the deadly landslide in Itogon, where rescuers retrieved at least 18 bodies after Typhoon Ompong.

In a situation briefing in Isabela Tuesday afternoon, Duterte mentioned he had long wanted to stop mining as it has "created a monster in this country."

"Noon pa gusto ko na talagang pigilin [I have been wanting to stop it ever since] but were it not for the fact that it's allowed by law. And if it's allowed by law, little could I do anything about it," Duterte said.

"I do not hate mining, but I would say that the time has come where our motherland has been used and abused and this cannot go on," he added.

Meanwhile, authorities hope to rescue at least 60 people trapped in a landslide in an abandoned mining site there.

Roque said the President is now more eager to put an end to mining in the country, although his own economic managers are against it.

"Never mind about the 70 billion. Well, of course the finance people are the ones who would object first and I can understand because they are the guys who are tasked to look for the money," Duterte said on Monday.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.