Duterte to mining firms: Pay back the poor for ‘injustices’

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President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at the 26th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Aguinaldo. (Photo from an RTVM video)

Pay back the poor.

That’s the message of President Rodrigo Duterte to mining companies, whose destructive operations, he said, had affected the livelihood of the poor.

“I have to solve the mining impasse,” he said in a speech he delivered Wednesday at the 26th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Camp Aguinaldo. “I’m warning the rich. Nakita mo ‘yung bukid na pagung-pagong na and I do not even see a single tree planted. And the devastation doon sa mga palayan, wala na, hindi na sila makapagtanim. Mga fishpond nila, it’s all poisoned.”

He said he would one day gather representatives from mining companies and the poor to discuss the “injustices” committed by the mining sector.

“So one of these days tatawagin ko ang mga mayaman at ‘yung mga mahirap. Makinig na lang kayo. Tao man kayo, anong tingin mo dito? Sirain mo ‘yung palayan niya, paano sila mag-survive? Ikaw, sige ka diyan kutkot nang kutkot. And how… It’s only five percent. Taxes? We get about 70 billion a year and that’s it,” he said.

“This cannot go on,” he added.

“Kung gusto ninyo, kayong mga mayaman, bayaran ninyo sila sa perdition nila,” he went on. “So if he has lost 100,000 hectare, tutal mayaman man ’yang mining, bayaran mo. Tapos taniman mo ng kahoy, kay ’pag hindi ’yan taniman ng kahoy, ’yang ulo ninyo ang putulin ko ilagay ko sa – ’yan ang itanim ko doon.”

The President asked for some time to solve the “injustices” committed by the mining sector.

“There are so many injustices here that we have to correct,” he said. “But just give me time.” /atm

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