President Duterte ordered Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu Sunday to check on illegal mining activities in Cagayan Valley after it was flooded following the onslaught of typhoon ‘’Ulysses.’’
Duterte made the statement as he led the situation briefing on the effects of Uysses in Cagayan Valley in the afternoon.
In his remarks, Duterte said it was important to control mining in the region, saying too many holes on the ground will loosen the soil.
“Ang importante ‘yung control ng mining. ‘Pag butas nang butas, maraming tubig papasok sa lupa. It loosens the soil. ‘Yan ang i-control mo (What’s important is we control mining. If they keep on poking holes on the ground, the water will come in. It loosens the soil. That is what you should control),” he said.
In response, Cimatu said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued cease and desist orders, noting that a lot of people have died because of the mining activities in the area.
According to Cimatu, there 10 casualties from the recent landslide in the mining area in Cagayan Valley.
Duterte assured the public that the government is working to prevent similar situations from happening by redefining forest protection efforts.
He, however, said that the national government cannot do this alone.
“We work to prevent the repeat of disasters by redefining forest protection efforts against illegal logging and mining. We expect LGUs (local government units) to do their part in this endeavor,” the President said.
“We talk about illegal logging and mining, but we do not do anything about it,” he added.
President Duterte backed Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade’s proposal of reforestation and dredging activities on the Cagayan River.
“Kailangan ng reforestation na ituloy. Pangalawa (na kailangan) ay ang dredging sa Cagayan River (We need to push through with the reforestation. Next is we need to have dredging activities at the Cagayan River),” Tugade said.
According to Tugade, the same thing will happen again if none of his two proposals are done.
“Reforestation and dredging of Cagayan River are needed to avoid future incidents in the province,” he said.
“In the medium term, dapat ibuhos ang trabaho sa reforestation at dredging sa Cagayan (We need to focus on the reforestation and dredging in Cagayan),” he added.