Who wants to kill mining? GMA outs Sonny Dominguez as a backstabbing liar
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is annoyed that Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez is making her the bad girl against the mining industry by claiming that the ban on open pit mining being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte was her priority.
Arroyo cited two instances when Dominguez, who took the cudgels for the mining industry in ousting former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez who was the original proponent of the open pit mining ban, stabbed her in the back and blamed her for wanting to kill mining – first with her former Presidential Adviser on Strategic Projects , Gloria Tan Climaco; and second with her politiko henchman, Surigao del Sur Rep. Butch Pichay.
“When Gloria Tan Climaco came to me two days ago, she said that the measure you are preparing is going to kill the industry. I said, ‘do not tell me that, this is an administration measure. Tell it to the DOF’. And she said, ‘but I told Sonny Domiguez’. She showed me the text (from Dominguez), ‘that is not my priority. That is GMA’s priority’,” said Arroyo in an interview with reporters.
“Sonny Dominguez also said the same thing to (Deputy Speaker) Butch Pichay and he says these things verbally,” she added.
Arroyo was incensed that Dominguez would spread lies about her. “Excuse me. I’m the one who opened up the mining industry in 2004 and it is my priority to kill the industry?” she said.
Arroyo said she was rushing a new Mining Bill in Congress to comply with Duterte’s marching order in his State of the Nation Address. “When I became Speaker, my job is to carry out his legislative agenda…When the President says, ‘I don’t want open-pit mining,’ once and for all we must define it in a law,” said Arroyo.
The Mining Bill provisions include defining open pit mining and slapping an excise tax on violators; and imposing royalty fees on mining firms operating outside Mineral Reservations.
Arroyo said she wanted to go beyond the President and layman’s understanding of open pit mines as “holes all over the place.” She said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu didn’t want to use open pit mining and instead wanted to use “maximum disturbed area” instead.
”I am more straight to the point. So I would like to incorporate a second portion of our draft bill to define ‘open-pit mining’ as a violation of DAO of 2018-19. To make it a tax measure, because if we don’t have a tax measure, it will become a rider,” said Arroyo.
” I have a proposed provision that says ‘open-pit mining’, as defined here in this Act, is prohibited and any mining tenement that will not comply with DAO shall take steps to comply with the DAO within a period allowed by the DENR. And within that period, they must pay an excise tax of such and such an amount which is the one you were saying was prohibitive or that will kill the industry,” said Arroyo.