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Mining free zone in Philippines
A Philippine lawmaker on Monday said the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 3667 seeking to declare the province of Nueva Vizcaya as a mining free zone.
Rep. Carlos Padilla, principal author of the bill, said the enactment of the bill into law is important to his province and his constituents, and will affect not only the present but also the future generation of the people of Nueva Vizcaya.
The bill provides it shall be unlawful for any person to mine or engage in mining operations in Nueva Vizcaya. Violators shall be penalized with 6 to 12 years imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P500,000.
If the offender is a corporation, firm, partnership or association, the penalty shall be imposed upon its officer or officers. If the offender is an alien, he or she shall immediately be deported without further proceedings after service of sentence and payment of fine.
The bill refers to mining as "the extraction of valuable materials or other geological materials, excluding gravel and sand marble. This shall include large-scale and small-scale mining activities involving exploration, feasibility, development, utilization and processing."
Citing the destructive effects of mining, Padilla referred to a report by the Alyansa Tigil Mina (Stop Mining Alliance) titled "Legacy of Disasters: 2011 National Mining Situationer."
It said there is no denying, the country's experience has been more debilitating, if not scaring. Furthermore, mining operations have always been equated with environmental destruction-deforestation, slope destabilization, soil erosion, desertification, water resource degradation, defertilization, crop damages, siltation, alteration of terrain and sea bottom, increased water turbidity and air pollution.
Padilla also cited a report by Robert Goodland and Clive Wicks titled "Philippines: Mining or Food?" which pointed out that "forest loss has led to a decline in the production of rice, the country's staple food."
Likewise, Padilla said Clark Short; a member of the British Parliament who had the opportunity of studying the mining situation in the Philippines stated "the stark choice facing the Philippines is between a few years of mining and thousand years of irrigated rice."