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Mining ban eyed in 78 ecotourism sites – Aquino

March 19, 2012 ·  By Chichi Conde, InterAksyon.com

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Mining ban eyed in 78 ecotourism sites - Aquino

The anti-mining lobby is strongly felt in places like Palawan, symbolized here by the iconic Puerto Princesa Underground River, where environmentalists say no amount of safeguard can protect what is described as part of the "last frontier."

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III said the government is poised to ban mining in 78 ecotourism sites in the country.

Aquino said the ban will be included in an executive order spelling out the administration’s new policy on the mining sector.

“One of the Department of Tourism’s inputs is they have identified 78 ecotourism sites where we will not allow, in all probability, mining. It will be too much of risk especially given the fact that they just reported that we’re on track to surpass the growth in tourism arrivals,” Aquino said in a tete-a-tete with reporters Sunday evening.

He said the government will also push for a higher share in mining revenues, which is currently only two percent, although how much government will demand has yet to be decided.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima earlier said the government received only P2 billion from the P1.2 trillion revenue from mining last year.

Aquino also said the government will urge mining companies to put up their own processing facilities in the country to generate more jobs for Filipinos.

The Joint Foreign Chambers, in its previous letter to Aquino, said sections of the first draft of the EO that remove certain tax breaks enjoyed by the mining sector and tighten regulations were “profoundly disturbing.”

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