Mindanao bizmen back responsible mining-A A +A
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
IN THE wake of President Aquino's Executive Order (EO) 79, seeking to rationalize conflicting laws on the mining industry, more Mindanao businessmen have expressed support to responsible mining which they believe will redound to the benefit of the people.
At the 21st Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) in Butuan City early this month, the president of the Butuan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (BCCIFI) threw his support to legitimate mining operations in the Caraga Region.
Joseph Omar Andaya said "mining per se is not bad as long as environmental standards are strictly enforced and performance is vigilantly monitored, according to law."
Besides, he said, "mining generates income for the people especially the poor."
Alfredo Baluyot, BCCIFI ex-president, welcomed EO 79 as a measure that helps push the industry forward.
Baluyot said EO 79 "institutionalizes and implements reforms in the country's mining sector by providing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources."
Admitting that EO 79 is not perfectly-crafted, he nonetheless said that "the mining law addresses concerns of the people, especially the youths who are considered the future of the country, as well as the next generations to come."
He particularly noted the EO's partiality to environmental protection, and government's intent to call miners to task for their safety and environmental lapses.
"Protecting the environment means saving the lives of the people," Baluyot said.
Last month, two prominent Davao City-based entrepreneurs said mining, when done with utmost care and responsibility, could boost the economy and people's income.
Property developer Philip Dizon said in an interview that while mining may be extractive, its "effects on the environment will be minimized" if it is done the proper way.
One way to ensure this, he said, is to have independent agencies like the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) to certify big firms and their projects.
Putting high standards on large-scale projects is necessary so that it ultimately benefits the industry "that generates employment and gives livelihood for the burgeoning population," he said.
Business leader Joji Ilagan-Bian also affirmed mining is an important economic driver and enjoined government regulating bodies to ensure proper implementation of mining policies.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 08, 2012.