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On DENR Sec. Cimatu’s confirmation

PRESS STATEMENT
04 October 2017

On DENR Sec. Cimatu’s confirmation

The speedy confirmation of ex-general Roy Cimatu as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) means the big business plunderers and polluters have found their right man for the agency.

The mining industry lobbyists who decried the supposed lack of technical proficiency of the previous DENR leadership under Gina Lopez did not raise a hoot about Cimatu’s complete lack of credentials in environmental science. Being a hypocrite is apparently not a problem when your lobby money is already making a hefty return on investment.

Not a single mining oligarch in Congress, especially in the Commission on Appointments, grilled Cimatu on his track record of corruption and human rights violation. A case of shared values, it seems.

Cimatu’s confirmation is the biggest and clearest stamp of approval the Duterte government can give to him. It means the Duterte government approves of Cimatu’s reversal of Lopez’s stringent regulation on land reclamation, much to the chagrin of poor fisherfolk, coastal communities, and biodiversity conservationists.

It means the Duterte regime’s official policy on mining is to eat all its rhetoric on cracking down on irresponsible large-scale miners. It is a go-signal for Cimatu to continue his review process to reverse the closure, suspension, and agreement cancellation orders against mining projects found to have violated various environmental and socio-economic standards.

We did not see Duterte exercising his ‘political will’ against these steps taken by Cimatu that run counter to his pronouncements of protecting the environment. It is becoming clearer that Duterte’s firebrand rhetoric against big mining plunder is just a more flamboyant case of empty populism.

At the end of the day, mining lobby money not only talks but resoundingly commands in the Duterte regime.#