DAVAO CITY -– Over 80 mining industry players and responsible mining advocates convened on Friday, August 5, at Regency Inn to fact check the misconception about mining, addressing the distinction between responsible and irresponsible mining practices.
Following the statement of Environment Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez about mining as the main cause of environmental destructions Thursday at Ateneo de Davao University, StandFirm co-founder Krist Jan Separa said DENR must consider the efforts done by those who follow the law.
“Dapat i-consider nila (DENR) na nag-eexist ang responsableng pagmimina, dapat maging patas sila sa pag-eevaluate ng mga ganitong usapin(DENR should consider that responsible mining do exist and they should be fair in evaluating this kind of topic),” he said in a sideline interview with SunStar Davao.
Separa further said Lopez, as the head of the Environment agency should have reservation in terms of her stand on mining and not completely remove the idea of responsible mining.
“It is illogical to be anti-mining because first, direct benefits from mining are obviously seen. Ito nga, the device that you see now with me is a product of mining,” he said, referring to himself as a product of the mining industry as a scholar.
Responsible mining, according to Separa, considers the welfare of the environment, the community to which it is done, sustainable economic development and at the same time adherence to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 Certification as a measure of responsible mining.
“Dapat ang responsableng pagmimina must extend towards sustainability and economic development, which is only done if they are proactive,” he added.
He explained that companies must be proactive in terms of Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) and in environmental rehabilitation programs.
Programs of the compliance include scholarship programs, building of infrastructure among the areas affected, livelihood projects, environmental rehabilitation and the taxes, which are the direct benefits that make mining significant in the country.
“Sobrang mali na sabihing mong walang naidudulot ang mining sa civilization sa mundo, sa mga tao man in particular (It’s wrong for you to say that mining has nothing to do with civilization , to humans in particular) ” he explained,
He added things like spoon, fork, the airplane and vehicles used by the community are products of mining.
He told SunStar their coalition targets to emphasize responsible mining considering its huge impact on the country’s economic development.
The country has abundant natural resources, in fact, the Philippines was ranked as the 5th among world’s most mineral-rich countries of gold, nickel, copper, and chromite.
This, according to 2015 data of Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI).
“We organized this as individuals believing in responsible mining and at the same time pushing for policies or eradication of irresponsible mining,” he said.
Separa, however, said they support the closure of irresponsible mining companies once proven guilty after an audit is conducted.
“Para sa mga irresponsableng practitioner, dapat kung gusto nilang mag-operate pa, ayos-ayusin na nila. Hindi lang kasi sila ang nadadamay kundi isang buong industriya( to those irresponsible miners, if they still want to operate, they should do it right. Because of them, responsible miners and the whole industry were stereotyped)” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, already warned mining industries to follow the standards on proper mining activities.
“If you cannot follow that standard, sorry. Maski na legal (Even though legal), we can only hold so much, iilang butas kung lagyan mo lahat, it will be a wobbly island,” Duterte said.