Innovation clusters urged to resolve mining issues

By Nikka Garriga

PASAY CITY, METRO MANILA—A lawmaker stressed the necessity to come up with solutions to issues that concern the country’s mining sector.

A report from the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PDIS) cited economic benefit from mining but the government should consider effects that go beyond return on investments, said Sen. Edgardo Angara.

“We can’t limit ourselves to just looking at how much monetary gain can be made. Further studies must take into consideration the social and environmental impacts of mining,” he said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently called on local government units to refrain from issuing permits for small scale mining following the recent landslide that killed 25 people in Compostela Valley.

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) and the Philippine Mining Exploration Association (PMEA) however expressed concerns over plans of the government to issue key reforms in the mining sector.

The Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) has been lobbying for innovation clusters.

The clusters consist of public-private partnerships (PPPs) among government, the academe and industry to conduct research and technology for solutions to the country’s most pressing issues.

This would also include more studies on the sociocultural and environmental effects of mining particularly in those communities directly affected by the operations.

“A very important dimension of this initiative is its cultural impact. All the more should the different stakeholders be involved—from government agencies to researchers in our SUC's, from the heads of mining companies to the leaders of affected communities,” Angara said.

The Palace has yet to announce its newly-formulated directive on mining activities as it continues to conduct additional consultations on the matter.

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