Euro Canals News

Your most trusted news channel

The anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) on Tuesday rejected the recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) for the development of more mining projects under the next administration as part of the government’s post-pandemic recovery program.

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, warned that a revival of the mining industry would lead to further displacement of communities, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, land-use changes, and food insecurity.

“These impacts are the last things we need in a post-pandemic recovery phase of the Philippines,” said.

The government’s push was made in light of the MICC report that mining and quarrying contributed significantly to the regional gross domestic product where mines are operational.

Garganera said the mining industry’s economic contribution does not outweigh the harmful impacts of mining to mining-affected communities and the cumulative impacts of climate change and natural disasters to the country.

“Besides, we doubt the claim of the MICC that mining contributes ‘significantly’ to the regional economy, as these computations fail to account for or externalize the costs to the environment, health, cultural displacement and conflict brought by mining,” he said.

Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) itself reveals the mining industry’s insignificant contribution to the GDP. According to MGB in June 2021, the mining sector accounted for P102.3 billion, equivalent to 0.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2020. In addition, there were only 184,000 jobs created, Garganera pointed out.

“At present, the government is pushing for mining to help the economy recover from the Covid pandemic-induced slump. However, we do not think that mining is the answer to the country’s economic woes.”

Instead, a rational management of our natural resources is needed for the sake of future generations. Full disclosure of all mine audit reports and the reviews of these mine audits must be implemented as soon as possible.  Also, alternatives to mining must be considered for reviving the economy. These include: agro-forestry, eco-tourism and watershed development, agriculture and fisheries, and community-based enterprises,” Garganera added.

Garganera also challenged the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand R. “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. to prove that it will genuinely promote the welfare of Filipinos by appointing an environment secretary that will not favor the mining industry, where his relatives and allies are enjoying beneficial ownership of mining companies and mining projects. -30-