Lady solon hits unregulated mining in Bulacan

In a privilege speech, Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan) said some "greedy" quarters from the mining sector have brought about environmental degradation in the province, affecting the living conditions of the indigenous people inhabiting the ancestral lands where the mining sites are located.

A lady lawmaker has deplored the unregulated mining in Bulacan, which she said puts the lives of the Bulakeños in great peril and perpetuates crime, violence and corruption in the province.

In a privilege speech, Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan) said some "greedy" quarters from the mining sector have brought about environmental degradation in the province, affecting the living conditions of the indigenous people inhabiting the ancestral lands where the mining sites are located.

The continuous mining and blasting activities in the mountains of Bulacan also alarm the people because these cause cracks in hydroelectric power dams in the area, Sy-Alvarado said.

Sy-Alvarado said mining has also brought violence to the province of Bulacan among unscrupulous individuals and rightful owners fighting it out and laying claim to huge mining rights.

She said the latest casualty in the violence is Dr. Lourdes Pascual, the rightful owner of Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation, which is one of the largest mining claims in Bulacan that cover tea rose marble sites.

"People who are not the real owners of our natural resources are killing one another. Because of greediness for the famous tea rose marble and high grade deposits of iron ore in Bulacan, a rush of violence and wanton killings have evolved in our province," Sy-Alvarado pointed out.

Sy-Alvarado attributed the problem to the mismanagement and patronage profiteering of previous local government officials. "The province is now witnessing the rise and prevalence of greed that is eating away the foundations of responsible mining as envisioned in the Constitution, the Philippine Mining Act, and EO 270," Sy-Alvarado said.

"Behind the corporate image of some mining activities in the province is an underworld of crime and corruption. Our people are the real victims of this greediness, violence and ecological imbalance done by the mining sector in Bulacan for they are still mired in poverty," Sy-Alvarado declared.

Sy-Alvarado urged the government to prevent illegal mining in the country as a whole and protect the ecological balance of agricultural lands and indigenous communities from industrial destruction.

In the same privilege speech, Alvarado also urged the government to address the problem pertaining to the stake of local government units (LUGs) in mining activities. She said the LGUS cannot determine their tax share because these taxes are collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and are immediately remitted to the national treasury for appropriate distribution.

"The moment the funds are downloaded to the LGUs, these have been mixed with the internal revenue allotment and there is no basis to identify the said funds or which funds are for whom," Sy-Alvarado said.

Sy-According to Alvarado, 15 years have passed since the enactment of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 but the mining sector is still in such a quandary.

"This law implements Article XII of the Constitution mandating the State to manage the country's mineral resources as owner and administrator, and to control and supervise exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources," Sy-Alvarado said.

"The 50%, 10% and 20% sharing schemes that go to the national, provincial and municipality and host barangays, respectively, must be reviewed especially if the mining claims fall within the ancestral lands where there are indigenous cultural communities," Sy-Alvarado stressed.

 

Source: Public Relations and Information Department

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