Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the mining companies have agreed to work hand-in-hand in assuring that mining will result for the common good and improves the lives of Filipinos, particularly those affected by mining operations.
Secretary Regina Lopez met with mining officials and urged them to join the DENR integrated area development approach that will establish ‘mini economic zones’ that will generate employment, livelihood, and income – generating activities in communities where mining operations are present.
“When you do that, we can get our people out of poverty,” she said.
Lopez met with 80 representatives of mining companies with the purpose “to move forward and work together for the country’s good.”
“I reiterate sincerely and emphatically, I want to help you (the mining industry) make things right and be on the positive side,” Lopez said.
Lopez also explained the policies and thrusts of the department, saying that it should be “for the country’s natural resources to be used in a way that benefits the most number of people.”
In the case of mining, Lopez said, benefits are limited and are causing “social fissure,”
The Environment Secretary also presented the Total Economic Valuation (TEV) framework that is a “fair and scientific way to make decisions based on monetary evaluation”.
Lopez encouraged the mining companies to make use of the TEV to identify and quantify the impact of mining to the environment and decide programs for implementation.
She added that social development and management programs can make a good socioeconomic impact if they will implement economic activities for communities under DENR’s area development approach.
“What if in the areas where you are, we ensure an area development approach, wherein your SDMP money is utilized in the best of ways with great social and economic value,” she said.
“I can work with you there, in such a way that the entire area where you are becomes a huge economic success,” Lopez said.