CRUZ, Jan Danielle S. Socio 114 – 1st Integration Paper 2012-21856 Prof. Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan
The Philippines has long been considered one of the richest countries in the world. May it be in terms of our country’s natural resources and biodiversity, or talk of our rich and diverse culture, we are a colorful nation and a beautiful land.
Being a country enclosed in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is naturally abundant with mineral resources, and because of this, we are one of the primary sources of different metallic, as well as non-metallic, minerals in the world. According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the country has an estimated $840 billion worth of untapped mineral resources with a span of 9 million hectares (a third of our country’s total land area) identified as having high mineral potential. This and other data from the MGB shows the high profitability of mining in the Philippines, which makes it attractive to foreign investors and transnational corporations. But, these mineral resources are found within our lands, as well as under our seas, both of which are also rich in other resources that sustain other economic activities around our archipelago. To add to this, the policies we have in place and endorsed by the government make it even more desirable. These policies make it easy and very profitable for transnational companies to pursue mining operations, and they are given a considerably favorable amount of control over the land their operations occupy. The mining stations that come to be in these specified areas have a tendency to invade the local communities’ lives in many debilitating ways, and often times many indigenous peoples are displaced from their own ancestral lands. This causes not just unrest within the community and within the area, but also negatively impacts the livelihoods, cultural practices and traditions, health, and identity of these locals.
The mining situation in the Philippines has been a long debated topic, and for many good reasons. It is an industry that is pervasive in many ways, and it is an issue underplayed by many people; it is a much larger issue than it is made to look like. It is an industry considered to be destructive and unsustainable, and as it stands, it is just that. Different sectors in our society play a part in this issue, including economics, environment, sociocultural, and political. All these systems are interrelated. Each cannot change without affecting or changing another. By carefully looking into this situations and analyzing the interrelation of the different factors, we will see that mining is more than just another industry and carries different effects and consequences on our country and people.
Minerals are non-renewable resources, and this fact is telling of the limited lifespan of the mining industry. But, given the mineral wealth of our country, it can be considered a key in economic growth. The total contribution of mining to the national gross domestic product remains small, just ranging from 0.6 to 1 percent. Contribution to exports hovers around 2 to 6 percent, as compared to agricultural contributions, which amounted to around 8 percent. Another claim mining companies have been making is their ability to generate jobs for the local communities and their contribution in further developing local industries. Statistically speaking though, the contribution of the mining sector to the national total employment consistently remains below 1 percent. As it is, extractive mining is a low-employment generating activity, as companies often invest high capital on machines and necessary technologies in their operations instead, minimizing the need for a large number of employees. Also, the available jobs offer no security and permanency, as again, mining operations have a limited lifespan, and more...
References: Ateneo School of Governement (2011). Is There a Future for Mining in the Philippines? Retrieved March 30, 2015 from http://www.ateneo.edu/sites/default/files/ASoG%20Mining%20Policy%20Brief%20FINAL_0.pdf
Salamat, M. (2013). Philippine mining situation in a glance. Retrieved March 17, 2015 from http://bulatlat.com/main/2013/09/12/philippine-mining-situation-at-a-glance/
Senate Economic Planning Office. (2013). Policy Brief: Realizing the Philippines’ Mining Potential. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from https://www.senate.gov.ph/publications/PB%202013-12%20-%20Mining_Policy%20Brief_final_revised_010614.pdf
Wetzlmaier, M. (2012). Cultural impacts of mining in indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain in the Philippines. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from http://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/bitstream/handle/document/33405/ssoar-aseas-2012-2-wetzlmaier-Cultural_impacts_of_mining_in.pdf?sequence=1
(n.d.). The Philippine Mineral Resources Accounts. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from http://www.nscb.gov.ph/peenra/results/mineral/
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