Vice President Jejomar C. Binay acknowledged Wednesday that mining has become a very complex issue, but stressed that the Mining Act and Executive Order 79, which spells out the Aquino administration’s mining policy, is able to balance the interests of companies and the communities.
“(They) provide firm basis upon which those who invest can make a decent profit, and a country hungry for development can reap just gains from the treasures it holds,” he said in his keynote speech during the Mining Philippines Conference and Exhibition in Pasay City.
The Vice President acknowledged that mining has “polarized” certain sectors.
“Mining has become a polarizing issue and whenever talks drift to this industry, unmovable lines tend to be drawn, with each camp boldly championing their cause,” he said.
“But amidst these discussions, I propose that the ultimate concerns of both sides can and should be tackled in unity,” he added.
The Vice President emphasized that social justice should be one of the guiding principles that should mold the future of Philippine mining.
“At the end of the day, mining should help raise the economic bottom line for the average Filipino and allow him or her to pursue a dignified and productive life. This is the context within which the future of mining must be shaped,” he said.
To achieve this, Binay said there should be a multipartite approach to mining to help redefine the industry.
“We can achieve sustainable, environmentally-sound mining principles and continuously refine such a framework that upholds both economic and social justice,” he said.
Binay recognized that mining can affect the environment and the communities, but the use of proper technology can address these concerns.
“Wherever mining shall be permitted by law, to miners of whatever scale, it is important that we apply every measure and technology to ensure that the impact on the environment is managed to acceptable degrees and that after the operations have ceased, proper rehabilitation is undertaken,” the Vice President said.
“Of greater importance, the gains of mining should trickle down to empower and improve the lives of those who truly own these resources: the Filipino people,” he added.