President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt to the mining operations in Tumbagaan Island in Tawi-Tawi after expressing concern over the devastation caused on the environment, a Malacanang official said Tuesday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles said Duterte issued the order during Monday night’s full Cabinet meeting following reports that the island had been devastated as a result of mining operations.
He said government agencies had also been ordered to step up forestation and other rehabilitation programs of the island, citing the importance of protecting the environment.
“The island has, at this point, been mined out. And while rehabilitation efforts are underway, the President is issuing a directive to stop any and all mining in Tumbagaan Island and to step up the rehabilitation of the area by planting more trees and other efforts of rehabilitation,” Nograles said.
“While rehabilitation efforts are underway, more actions will be considered as more light is shed on the state of the island and the conduct of mining operations in the area.
“His commitment to preserve the environment was evident when he ordered the closure and rehabilitation of Boracay and in his directives that mining companies comply with laws, rules and regulations that govern their operations.
“Since the beginning of his administration, the President has repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting our environment and strictly implementing environmental laws.”