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Cimatu sees hope for mining sector
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu (ROBINSON NIÑAL/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
November 27th, 2017 | 10:25 AM | 920 views
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu just gave the mining sector a glimmer of hope by saying that the administration will continue to push for responsible mining in the country despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s unsavory public comments about the industry.
At the 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Safety Conference (ANMSEC), Cimatu basically gave the sector a chance to redeem itself for “failing” the country and the people for being associated with environment degradation, social injustice, corporate greed, and utter irresponsibility, and that he wants to see its contribution to the Philippine economy to grow double digits in the future.
This was the first time in seven years that the Secretary of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) attended and spoke at ANMSEC, the annual gathering of miners and all their stakeholders in Baguio City.
“What made me finally decide to come over was my desire to determine for myself whether there’s hope for redemption for an industry that has apparently failed our country and our people,” Cimatu said.
“Given its seemingly battered image in the public eye, I myself hesitated at first or even considered coming over. But I thought as DENR Secretary it is [not] right to simply ignore, or worst condemn, a sector which [can be] a solid partner for the development of the national good,” he added.
This was also the first time Cimatu spoke publicly about the minerals sector since Duterte expressed his latest rant against it, saying he is not keen on lifting the ban on open pit mine and that he will close mining firms that will continue to pay taxes to New People’s Army.
Moving forward, Cimatu said that he wants to see the sector “regain itself in the same manner as those in Chile and Indonesia which are considered as mineralized as the Philippines.”
He said that Duterte wants to see the sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to be at the high of two digits in terms of percentage.
At present, the mining sector in Chile contributes as much as 17 percent to its GDP, while the industry accounts for the 14 percent of Indonesia’s overall economy.
Despite its potentials, the the local mining sector’s annual contribution to the Philippine economy had failed to go beyond 0.7 percent over the past seven years.
To date, the country’s untapped mineral resources are projected to have a combined value of over $1 trillion.
“Please remember that our national resources are owned by all of us. These are state assets. You as miners are allowed to make use of them as contractors of our people to benefit all of us now and for the next generations. Simply put, an MPSA [Mineral Production Sharing Agreement] and FTAA [Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement] is a privilege given, not a right one is entitled to. That is why the industry has to adhere to rules and accountability for it to prosper and be sustained for the national good,” Cimatu further said.
He added that he does not want to see the sector to “end up as an irresponsible one benefiting only a small portion of the public” and to waste “our resources and degrade our environment and thus destined to be condemned to the dust bin of history”.
“Let me make our position very clear as mandated by the Constitution and the existing laws. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte has declared in no uncertain terms that the administration is for responsible mining,” he further said.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Madelaine B. Miraflor
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