Chiz, Poe say LGUs to decide on mining
posted 17-Apr-2013  ·  
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Visiting senatoriables Chiz Escudero and Grace Poe are fans of responsible mining but Chiz clarified that it would be the individual local governments who would decide whether to allow commercial mining or not.

The two Liberal Party candidates were in town last week to expound on their campaign platforms on radio and during a press conference with local journalists, one of whom asked both bets their stand on mining, particularly the Department of Energy’s awarding of a coal operating contract to an Australian-backed mining firm.

“I am not against mining per se,” Sen. Escudero said, adding that any mining operation would have to comply with environmental laws as outlined in their Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and follow local regulations.

He said that officials in his native province of Sorsogon have decided not to allow commercial mining. “It will be the decision of each province to allow mining,” he stressed.

Poe echoed her partymate’s view, saying that she is for responsible mining if it is safe and not hazardous to the environment. Mining companies should increase their operation’s benefits to surrounding communities and process the mineral in the country so that there would be no need for local manufacturers to import the processed mineral. As the profit in the mining industry is huge, Poe stated, the excise tax on extracted minerals should be increased to finance vital infrastructures like hospitals and health centers in the affected communities.

The two candidates made the statements in the meeting hosted by Congressman Cesar Sarmiento and Governor Joseph Cua at Villa Alcantara in Virac.

The senator said he favors equal rights and fair treatment for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. He also wants that all elective officials execute a waiver on the secrecy of their bank deposits, with money found to be undeclared in their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) considered stolen.

He likewise stressed that his pork barrel allocation in his three years as senator had been equally distributed among 1,600 municipalities, with the 11 towns in Catanduanes getting P500,000 each for the repair and/or of their respective public markets. He also favors reforms in pork barrel allocations, with the specific projects to be identified in the line-item budget and not placed as a lump-sum appropriation.

Chiz also touched briefly on his controversial romance with movie actress Heart Evangelista, saying that he hopes the latter’s parents would leave the door open to fix their damaged relationships.

On the other hand, newcomer Poe stated her support for the abolition of the pork barrel in favor of a better system of assisting LGUs. She likewise said she is not in favor of divorce but would want significant amendments in the Family Code to allow poor couples to get annulment and legal separation which are presently expensive.

“We should support the RH Bill,” Poe said but she opined that there should be an opt-out provision for parents in case of sex education classes for their children. The government cannot force population control methods on couples, she stressed. The adopted daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces said her centerpiece program once elected to the Senate is to focus on 5 million farmers neglected by the government and a countrywide feeding program for all public elementary schools.

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