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Mining areas 'poorest' in country

Friday, March 2, 2012
MANILA (Updated 3:25 p.m.) -- Gina Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN foundation, said Friday that the poorest areas in the country are those that engage in mining.
Lopez, in the conference on Mining's Impact on Philippine Economy and Ecology, said Filipinos can get out of poverty if they invest in their islands and not in mining.
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"Poorest areas in the country are mining areas ...so what track record does mining have to speak of?" she said.
People in mining areas don't benefit from it, she added. "We're 7,107 amazing islands. We can get our people out of poverty if we invest in our islands."
Lopez also said our country can address poverty by investing in eco-system, backing sustainable tourism as an alternative to mining.
She said if there are biodiversity and rich mineral resources, the focus must always be on biodiversity.
She added that in an island ecosystem, mining is grossly irresponsible.
"Mining and an island ecosystem should never, never be," Lopez added.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno, who is one of the speakers, said the Philippines must adopt a mining strategy that will contribute to economic growth.
"Objective is to rehab/reforest mine sites. From cradle, to grave, to cradle again," Jasareno said.
He said there are 200,000 to 300,000 small-scale miners in the country and mining should boost economy and improve lives.
If not, "no mining at all," Jasareno added.
Meanwhile, Gerry Brimo of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said it's not true that mining will affect food security, adding the mining industry rehabilitates sites and builds human capital.
"Scare tactics are used to make you believe that if mining continues we will run out of food," he said.
Brimo also said mining applications may be many but there are only 27 to 31 large-scale mines.
"Typically just 1 in 500 applications is developed," he added.
British conservationist Clive Wicks, for his part, said there's "desperate" need to review mining policy in the Philippines. (Sunnex)

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