Jul 24, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte gave his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, and while there are several issues we wished he could have touched on, he did talk rather extensively on the environment. In case you missed the SONA, here’s a refresher:

1. Boracay 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

A quick refresher on the Boracay situation: last April, the president ordered the closure of Boracay to tourists for six months in order to rehabilitate the island, calling it a “cesspool” caused by blatant disregard of environmental and zoning laws.

Duterte defended this action at the SONA, calling the once popular tourist destination a “representation of the government’s negligence, including mine.” He added: “I could not allow this decay to continue; decisive action has long been overdue.” He assured that aside from rehabilitating the island’s “environmental integrity,” he will be enacting measures to aid the people whose livelihood were affected by the closure.

Calling the Boracay closure the “mark of the beginning of a new national effort,” and stressing that “environmental protection and ensuring the health of our people cannot be overemphasized,” Duterte also pointed out that other tourist spots would be given the same treatment as Boracay soon.

“I urge our local government units to proactively enforce our laws and not wait for us to swoop down on your areas just to do your duty and work,” he warned.

2. National Land Use Act

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Last year, Duterte called on legislators to “immediately pass the National Land Use Act,” a proposed bill which will systematize proper and sustainable use of land resources around the country. Duterte reiterated the need to pass the bill, calling on the Senate to “put in place a national land use policy that will address our competing land requirements for food, housing, businesses, and environmental conservation.”

“We need to do this now,” he stressed, using Boracay an example of how long overdue the act is. Calling the utilization of resources a “non-negotiable,” the president then remarked that “the protection of the environment must be top priority and extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, not just a select few.” He once again called out the legislators, this time saying, “Do not just give me taxes. Give me what needs to be given to my countrymen.”

3. Mining

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

As you might recall, Duterte’s stance on mining was one of the six points we agreed with from his last SONA. His message to the miners last year was clear: mine responsibly. This year, the president took a harder stance on mining, telling the mining industry not to “destroy the environment or compromise our resources,” and warning them that if they don’t radically change their management, “you will have restrictive policies.” He then pointed out the “prohibition of open mining” as an example of a policy that needed to change. “It is destroying my country. It is destroying the environment. It will destroy the world of tomorrow for our children.”


Featured photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

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TAGS: boracay Duterte duterte administration environment environmental policy Mining national land use act nolisoliph President Rodrigo Duterte sona 2018 State of the Nation Address