SONA 2017 PROMISE TRACKER: Environment

Find out how Duterte fared in other sectors

President Rodrigo Duterte devoted a chunk of his second State of the Nation Address to chastising the mining industry. Without mincing words, he warned he would “tax [the sector] to death” should companies fail to replenish exploited areas.

In December 2017, he signed into law a new tax reform package that effectively doubled mining taxes from 2 to 4 percent—preceding another tax scheme that would further raise duties on various metals.

Duterte also advocated for a total ban on exporting raw mineral ores to foreign countries, which advocates say would only backfire on the economy.

“The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another.” Duterte said. “And this policy is non-negotiable.”

Beyond mining, Duterte appealed to Congress to craft a law that seeks to ensure sustainable land use, and vowed to expedite the creation of a new disaster agency, calling it “a matter of urgent concern.”

“We all need to act fast,” said the president.

Promises dating back to 2016, such as the rehabilitation of the Carmona Sanitary Landfill and the Laguna Lake, remain unfulfilled.

Here’s how Duterte fared in his promises on mining, disasters and the environment.

PROMISE: Pass national land use act

"I am appealing to all our legislators to immediately pass the National Land Use Act or NALUA to ensure the rational and sustainable use of our land and our physical resources, given the competing needs of food security, housing, businesses and environmental conservation." (SONA 2017)

Three bills on land use, including those filed before Duterte’s SONA in 2017, remain pending in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources based on legislative records. The House of Representatives approved a similar bill in July 2017.

PROMISE: Ban mineral ore exports

"If possible, we shall put a stop to the extraction and exportation of our mineral resources to foreign nations for processing abroad and importing them back to the Philippines in the form of consumer goods at prices twice or thrice the value of the original raw materials foreign corporations pay for the them.” (SONA 2017)

The Philippines continues to export metal products and gold in growing amounts. In May 2018, exports of metal components grew by 80.9 percent year-on-year while gold exports rose to 4.4 percent, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show. Meanwhile, figures covering the same period show exports of other mineral products dropped by 29.5 percent.

PROMISE: Raise mining taxes

"Mayaman na kayo, mga mining companies. Ito ang deal ko sa inyo, either I will raise the taxes, ang kumikita niyan i-reserve ko to compensate for those who are suffering and in agony." (SONA 2017)

Duterte signed into law December 2017 Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which doubled excise taxes on metallic, nonmetallic minerals and quarry resources from 2 to 4 percent.

PROMISE: Craft law to create a new disaster agency

"I am calling [on] both houses of Congress to expeditiously craft a law establishing a new authority or department that is responsive to the prevailing 21 century conditions and empowered to best deliver [an] enhanced disaster resiliency and quick disaster response." (SONA 2017)

Proposals to create a new disaster resilience department, which would consolidate existing agencies involved in disaster response, remain pending in both houses of Congress. Reports say Duterte is eyeing the enactment of the law before yearend.

PROMISE: Close down Carmona Sanitary Landfill

"To have adequate disposal facilities for the Metro Manila Garbage, the final closure and rehabilitation of the Carmona Sanitary Landfill shall be pursued..." (SONA 2016)

Rehabilitation of the Carmona Sanitary Landfill is ongoing, according to the Solid Waste Management Office of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

PROMISE: Rehabilitate the Laguna Lake

"The Laguna Lake shall be transformed into a vibrant economic zone showcasing ecotourism by addressing the negative impact of the watershed destruction, land conversion and pollution. Ito ang nilagay ko. This is what I am telling: The poor fishermen will have priority in its entitlements." (SONA 2016)

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) has demolished some 90 illegal structures spanning 652 hectares of Laguna de Bay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported. In June, it served cease and desist orders against two construction firms for illegal reclamation and dumping garbage into the lake’s shorelands.

PROMISE: Explore waste-to-energy facilities

"The adoption of appropriate waste-to-energy facilities will be explored. Marami nyan." (SONA 2016)

The Department of Energy signed in April the operating contract of the country’s first waste-to-energy plant in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.


Senate Bills 1015, 1144, 1522

Philippine Statistics Authority, Highlights of the Philippine Export and Import Statistics: May 2018, July 10, 2018.

Republic Act 10963

Senate Bills 1553, 1735

Business Mirror, Congress to expedite passage of measure creating Department of Disaster Resilience, Jan. 10, 2018.

CNN Philippines, Office of the President wants NDRRMC abolition, new Department of Disaster Resilience by year-end, July 17, 2018., Duterte approves new anti-disaster agency, July 15, 2018.

UNTV News and Rescue, Duterte eyes new agency on disaster resiliency, July 17, 2018.

Interview with MMDA Solid Waste Management Authority

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, LLDA shuts down 2 firms for illegal reclamation in Taguig City, June 14, 2018.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, DENR vows for intensified protection for ecosystems, communities vs. climate change, July 18, 2018.

Business Mirror, PHL’s first thermal gasification in Puerto Princesa, April 14, 2018.

Manila Standard, DoE signs contract for Philippines’ first waste-to-energy project, April 7, 2018., Green groups: Scrap Puerto Princesa’s waste-to-energy project, April 21, 2018.

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


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