World Economy

Philippine Green Industries Better at Creating Jobs Than Mining

Philippine Green Industries Better at Creating Jobs Than MiningPhilippine Green Industries Better at Creating Jobs Than Mining

Philippine’s Environment Secretary Gina Lopez challenged mining companies, which she ordered suspended or closed, to give her at least 18 months to develop areas they previously occupied into ecological zones that “can create more jobs”.

“Give me a year and a half, maximum two years. They’ve been there for 77 years . . . A green economy can create more jobs than the mining could ever (create),” she said, referring to mines in Dinagat Islands, in an interview on dzMM, ABS/CBN reported.

Last Thursday, Lopez ordered the following mines in Dinagat Islands closed: Aam-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corp.; Krominco Inc.; SinoSteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corp.; Oriental Synergy Mining Corp.; Wellex Mining Corp.; Libijo Mining Corp.; and Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp.

The decision came following an industry-wide crackdown on companies that weren’t complying with safety standards. Of the 41 mines audited, only 13 passed while 23 are for closure and five for suspension.

Lopez said she has learned of 185 possible ecotourism areas in Dinagat Islands, which could be developed in place of mines and create enterprises for locals.

“Give me a year and a half, at the beginning they’ll have more jobs than they could ever imagine. Let them live in the beauty of their place,” she added, noting that mining has not helped alleviate poverty in the area.

Lopez recognized that some people will be affected by the closing of the mines, but she maintained that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will provide alternative jobs for those who will be affected.

“I admit that there are people who benefit from the mining. But the number of farmers, fishermen and communities and children that suffer because of operations is much, much more so we make our choice,” she said.

Lopez revealed that consultations and planning will be conducted with affected mining employees from February 16 to 18 to discuss alternative jobs.

She said the DENR will announce more “policies” on February 14.

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