Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bill declaring Catanduanes a mining-free zone hurdles 3rd reading in House

Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento
Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento
A bill declaring Catanduanes a mining-free zone has been approved on its third reading at a House Plenary session yesterday afternoon.

House Bill 670, which was introduced by Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento of Catanduanes, had 211 votes, with no negative votes or abstentions.

The approved bill has been referred and transmitted to the Senate.

HB 670

The bill prohibits all mining operations in Catanduanes in an effort to promote the people and the environment in the island province from the adverse effects of mining.

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It also imposes a penalty of imprisonment of at least 6 years but not more than 12 years and a fine of at least P100,000 but not more than P500,000 on any person, employee, or employment agency that violates the provisions of the Act.

Strong opposition

It will be recalled that earlier, various sectors have expressed their opposition to coal mining in Catanduanes.

Last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed an ordinance to declare the island as a mining-free area.

The local Church and some civic organizations supported this move, citing detrimental effects such soil erosion, vegetation disturbances, and water siltation, as the reasons for their objection.
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