An environmentalist group has hailed Davao City councilors for the approval of amendments that strengthened an ordinance banning mining in Davao City.
The ban is “one step closer in making the world in general and Davao City in particular a better place to live for the future generations,” said Interface Development Interventions (Idis).
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is pleased with the approval.
Duterte said he has always found mining unfavorable due to its adverse effects on the environment, adding that it is not just an environmental problem, but also a social issue.
The 17th City Council led by Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte on May 5 approved on third and final reading the amendment that states that “no approval shall be granted or issued by the city through its Sangguniang Panglungsod (City Council) to any person, natural or juridical, to undertake any and all forms of mining operation in any area within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City, except rocks and mineral substances classified under the quarry resources.”
In effect the amendment gave the City Council to thwart off any mining venture.
Violators shall charged with administrative, civil or criminal cases with one year of imprisonment or a fine of P5,000.
Floor Leader Councilor Bernie Al-ag earlier said the amendment refined and strengthened the measure against threats that would question its legality.
The Philippine Mining Law of 1995 allows responsible mining.
Earlie, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reminded the city council that a local ordinance on mining cannot be superior over the national law on mining.
“We are just reminding the council that there is a national law and that the local government cannot be superior to it,” MGB Regional Director Edilberto Arreza said.
However, the Director said their agency cannot do anything about it, adding that it is now up to the private companies affected to question the said mining ban.
The ordinance passed three years ago declared Davao City should be free from all forms of mining.
The anti-mining measure is strongly supported by Mayor Duterte, former Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. In support of the local ordinance, Third District Rep. Isidro Ungab proposed a House resolution also declaring Davao City as mining-free.
Davao City councilor Nilo Abellera Jr. said the Davao-Samal ferry service is inadequate and urged more investors should join the industry.
Abellera, chair of the council committee on peace and public safety, also said there is need to strengthen enforcement of maritime laws to ensure the safety of passengers.
He said demand for ferry service has grown tremendously as the tourism industry in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) grows.
Tourists going to the island ride ferries and pumpboats in Sasa piers in Davao City.
Last week, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte slammed ferry operators for not enforcing the law requiring passengers to wear life vest.
Abellera has conducted a committee hearing with ferry operators in a bid to improve ferry services.
Davao disaster fund upped to half-a-billion
Davao City Council has beefed up the disaster fund with the approval of a disaster plan amounting to P545 million.
The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Investment Fund for 2015 was approved by city councilors on May 5.
The fund sought by the Davao City Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) was defended by DRRMC head Emmanuel Jagdon in the May 5 session of the City Council.
Following the approval, city councilors passed a resolution requesting Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to appoint chairmen of three committees of the city council as members of the DRRMC.
City councilors noted that only Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte is representing the city council in DRRMC.
We also want to be involved in disaster management, said a councilor.
Davao City has only 26 firetrucks scattered in different stations.
Davao City Councilor Bernie Al-ag said the number is inadequate and has urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to provide more fire trucks to the city, in a resolution approved by the city council on May 5.
In a privilege speech, Al-ag said several of the firetrucks are vintage 60s and are no longer serviceable.
Our people deserve a better service from our fire department to save lives and property, he said.
He lamented that it was a shame that fire trucks of volunteer brigades arrive first on the fire scene than those of the fire department.
The number of fires in Davao City more than doubled in just one year, said a report in SunStar avao.
The Davao Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) noted a 62.1-percent increase in fires during the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2014.
BFP’s Intelligence and Investigation Section (IIS) arson investigator, Rogel John Alocelja, said there were 201 fires from January to April.
Nineteen fires were reported in January; 33 in February; 80 in March and 69 in April.
The BFP recorded 124 fires in 2014.
Alocelja said the most common causes of fires were short circuits, faulty electrical wiring, unattended cookery, overheating, and embers from burning garbage.