News Release

President Duterte orders DENR to look into alternatives to open pit mining

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said President Rodrigo Duterte has given a directive to the DENR to look into other options other than open pit mining.

“During the Cabinet meeting last September 4, the President ordered me to look into other options or modalities in getting what is inside the bowels of the Earth aside from open pit mining,” Cimatu said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, October 19.

According to the DENR chief, President Duterte also instructed him not to allow mining in watersheds and to require mining companies to plant trees in barren areas within the company concession, which are not utilized for mining.

Cimatu noted that President Duterte is not against open pit mining as long as mining companies extend assistance to communities that are affected by the open pit mining.

“Mining companies will be given that elbow room… but eventually at some point in the future, open pit mining will have to return or to turn (to) more environmentally-accepted methods,” Cimatu said.

He said the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) would be convening on October 24 to translate the President’s instruction into specific guidance.

Cimatu meanwhile said he is open to the idea of increasing the excise tax on mining companies.

“We have to plan properly how much of financial and so forth and so on. But mukhang maliit ‘yung two percent,” he said, noting that currently, the mining industry is contributing less than one percent to the GDP.

“Other countries, they are getting about 10 percent, 8 percent. In fact, one country in South America is getting 15 percent,” Cimatu said.

“So these are the things that we have to look (into) because as of now, we are the fifth mineralized country in the world and their estimate is that if we can get all these, it can translate into a very big revenue for the government and it can translate I think into trillions of pesos,” he said.

In the same briefing, Cimatu said the government is pushing for the modernization of the vehicles in the country in a bid to decrease air pollution.

“The number one source of pollution really are those engines that are still categorized as Euro 2. And these Euro 2 vehicles should be out in the streets by the middle of next year, as far as our plans is concerned with the DENR,” Cimatu said.

As for Solid Waste Management, Cimatu said they had closed the Payatas landfill because it had already exceeded its limit.

He said the dumpsite in Rodriguez, Rizal is currently being used but is expected to be used only until 2022.

“Payatas, that should have been closed four years ago eh. But na-extend-extend hangga’t supposed to be ngayon December na sana ang final. Pero hindi na natin pinaabot ‘yung December kasi talagang delikado na,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu then said it is vital for each household to at least recycle their trash so as not to contribute to the problem of waste disposal.




Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the inclusion of three Philippine islands as among the world’s best islands in the world in a survey conducted by international magazine Conde Nast Traveler.

Based on the said survey, Boracay remains to be on the top spot while Cebu and the Visayan Islands came in second. Palawan was on the third spot.

Furthermore, the country’s international visitor arrivals in July this year peaked at 568,035, generating P33.52 billion.

“This reflects a double digit growth of 58.22 percent from July 2016 and its expenditures of P21.189 billion,” Abella said.

Abella noted that the total visitor arrivals from January to July are now at 3,925,626, indicating an upward trend.

“We hope that more and more tourists come to the Philippines as the administration continually works for a safe and comfortable environment for all,” Abella said.

In the same briefing, Abella said that government spending increased in August.

“Spending reached P201 billion in August from 177 billion in August 2016 and January, August spending rose 9.8 percent to 1.78 trillion,” Abella said.

“We are glad double-digit underspending is over and your government is now delivering the services you paid for with your taxes,” Abella added.

He said this would boost the delivery of more infrastructure services, jobs, and a better life for Filipinos by boosting revenues through tax reforms.



Following the arrest of Karen Aizha Hamidon by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on October 18, Spokesperson Abella warned that the public cannot let their guard down in the fight against terrorism as remnants of the terrorist group are still at large.

“Our efforts to hunt down extremist elements who want to sow fear and terror and to maintain peace and order in the community as we call on our people for their vigilance and cooperation to inform authorities on possible threats to public safety,” Abella said.

Hamidon is the widow of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, the most wanted man in Sarangani before his death and former leader of Ansar Khalifa Philippines, the group behind the Davao bombing last year.

She is an alleged Daesh-Maute recruiter, where she used online messaging applications to urge foreign terrorists to join the Maute group in Marawi City and fight with our government.

Meanwhile, military forces is validating reports that Mahmud Bin Ahmad, the Malaysian national who helped finance the Maute group during the Marawi siege, died in an encounter last night.

“Once government troops recover the body, only then can we make an official confirmation,” he said. ###PND