SO NOW finally the National Government is catching up with Negros Occidental.

In 2014, Negros Island trumpeted the theme of the organic fair for the current year as “One Negros, One Green Economy.” That same year, the Provincial Board enacted the Investment and Incentives Code to set the legal framework and mechanisms for pursuing the development of a diversified green economy.

The ordinance became the legal backbone for the organic agriculture and renewable energy investments. The province earned the title the solar capital of the country. Negrenses can provide the real life examples of an alternative future.

These facts come to mind as Environment Secretary Regina Lopez battles the mining industry. She invoked the building of the national green economy as an alternative source of employment to displaced workers in the mining industry due to the closure of 23 large-scale mining firms in the country.

“On the jobs, give me a year and a half. Hahamunin ko sila. A green economy can create more jobs than mining than they could ever imagine,” argued Ms. Lopez.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) insisted that 1.2 million will lose their jobs, with their families affected as well.

The current catchphrase is “alternative facts,” coined by Kellyanne Conway, the US Counselor to US President Trump.

In the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and COMP are citing two conflicting facts. Behind facts are the truth, and nothing but the truth. Ms. Lopez raised the bar in the debate: going beyond differences in employment stats is the truth on who is defending the environment.

Now who is telling the truth? Her truth? Or that of the mining industry?

In this era of climate change, I stand by those who oppose climate change.

On this score, Negros Occidental has a duty to demonstrate the viability of its local green economy.

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(bqsanc@yahoo.com)