Advocacy on responsible mining needed as youths seen opposing it
by Jeane Duron-Abangan
Davao City (19 June) -- National agencies concerned on mining have felt the need to drum up the advocacy on responsible mining as many are having the notion that such economic activity entirely brings no good to mankind.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Director Edilberto L. Arreza in an interview admitted that many, especially the young, are against mining which he said brings a lot of advantages if done responsibly.
"In other countries, they have considered mining as their engine of growth," Arreza said.
He found the situation as "ironic" in the Philippines which he said "is so much endowed with minerals" but they have not been in full use.
Arreza bared the country as third in copper deposit and one of the leading in gold, nickel, iron and other mineral in volumes of deposits.
He called on the youth to "consider mining as one of the development options," assuring them that the new Mining Act has laid down parameters of responsible mining.
Arreza was referring to the survey results on the Acceptability of Mining in Region XI presented during the Mining Industry Cluster Forum organized under the Davao Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (DiCCEP).
Funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), DiCCEP implementation is spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry and MGB.
A two-year project that started in 2008, DiCCEP aims to strengthen industry cluster network in Davao Region.
For mining sector in particular, DiCCEP waged an advocacy on responsible mining which it did through radio broadcasting and conducting forums and meetings with stakeholders especially in Compostela Valley Province and Davao Oriental which are considered as mining hubs of the Davao Region.
DiCCEP project manager Romy Castanaga in his presentation during the mining industry cluster forum said the advocacy was aimed at "increasing the level of awareness and acceptance of mining especially in host local government units."
To test the effectiveness of the advocacy activities, an assessment survey was made taking a total of 415 respondents picked from participants of advocacy forum and meetings in Compostela Valley and in Davao Oriental.
The survey also picked respondents in Davao City.
In presenting the survey results, Mining Industry Cluster technical working group member Arvin Carlom revealed that 59 percent of the respondents falling under age bracket 30 years old and below, strongly disagreed mining.
Among the respondents of 31 to 45 years of age, 37 percent strongly disagreed but 50 percent claimed they agreed on mining, while 61 percent of older respondents of 45 years of age and beyond posted, agreed to such kind of economic activity.
Carlom noted that the "younger generation is against mining" and warned that miners would be facing much greater challenges in the coming years "if this phenomenon will continue."
"If this will continue and if the industry will not take action it will be very difficult to start mining in the future," he said in analyzing the data.
However, he said that a significant neutral percentage could become a "swing force" that could spell a difference in strength between those who agree and those who disagree, depending on the force of the advocacy on responsible mining.
On the other hand, per area analysis yielded result showing Davao City as having 78 percent of the respondents who disagreed on mining.
"Can you imagine the influence it could make among other interactors? Davao City is very strategic to promote or advocate either for pro or anti mining," Carlom said.
Compostela Valley notably had 64 percent respondents who agreed to go on mining but 24 percent of the respondents in the area strongly disagreed with it.
Carlom viewed Davao Oriental as a challenging area as he noted that 46 percent of the respondents strongly disagreed mining though it is one of the mining hubs in the Davao Region.
Despite this fact, Arreza expressed hope that greater awareness on responsible mining would be raised as DiCCEP is bound to step up advocacy on responsible mining.
"With DiCCEP, we have an ally in information dissemination. We came up with advocacy on responsible mining to let people aware that there is a way of mining responsibly, of protecting the people within the mining area," he said. (PIA XI) [top]