MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday warned mining companies that he would tax them “to death” unless they restore the “virginity” of exploited areas.
Duterte said he would use revenue from mining taxes to help host communities that were left “in agony.”
“You have to come up with a substitute, either spend to restore the virginity of the source or I will tax you to death,” Duterte said in his annual address to Congress.
Duterte said former environment secretary Gina Lopez showed mining communities a “clear picture of what was happening horrendously” in mining areas.
He also offered a “salute” to ABS-CBN anchor Ted Failon whose program, Failon Ngayon, showed the ill effects of mining on the environment in a recent episode.
“I am holding all mining companies and its officials responsible for the full and quick clean up restoration rehabilitation of all areas damaged by mining activities and extension of all necessary support to the communities that have suffered mining’s disastrous effects to the health among others,” he said.
The President told mining firms to stop destroying watersheds, forests and aquatic resources.
“The protection of the environment musts be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another and this policy is non-negotiable,” he said.
Mining companies should also declare their correct income and pay all taxes.