MINING lobby Chamber of Mines of the Philippines refuted the statement of Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez that “the poorest areas in the Philippines are mining areas.”
“We do not cause suffering in areas where we operate, contrary to Lopez’s belief. In fact, we ease these sufferings by complementing the government’s delivery of social services and by implementing our environmental protection and enhancement programs,” COMP executive vice president Nelia Halcon stressed.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority 2015 First Semester Poverty Statistics, Halcon said the 10 poorest provinces in the country are Lanao del Sur with 74.3 percent poverty rate; Sulu, 65.7 percent; Sarangani, 61.7 percent; Northern Samar, 61.6 percent; Maguindanao, 59.4 percent; Bukidnon, 58.7 percent; Sultan Kudarat, 56.2 percent; Zamboanga del Norte, 56.1 percent; Siquijor, 55.2 percent; and Agusan del Sur, 54.8 percent.
“None of these provinces play host to mining firms,” Halcon said.
On the other hand, the mining towns of Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) posted a low poverty incidence rate according to the PSA report in 2012.
Itogon, which hosts Benguet Corporation and Philex Mining Corporation, posted a poverty incidence rate of 4.8 percent; Mankayan, which hosts Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., 6.2 percent; and Tuba, which hosts Philex Mining Corporation, posted a 4.6 percent poverty rate.
In CAR, the industry sector, including mining and quarrying, contributed most to the 2012 regional economy with P108.23 million compared to the agriculture sector’s contribution of P21.8 million. The services sector contributed P74 million. .
Updated figures of PSA-CAR show that in 2014 the industry sector contributed P25.3 million to the regional economy while agriculture contributed P25.3 million and services contributed P89.6 million.
Mining and quarrying is the second largest contributor to CAR’s industry sector, she added.
Meanwhile, Caraga Region benefited the most from mining taxes according to the December 2015 report of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Report. Caraga was able to collect P106.9 million from the different extractive companies operation in the region.
The other top four regions that benefited from mining revenues are Regions VII, V, II and CAR.
But it was the Province of Cebu that posted the highest in tax shares, collecting around P93 million. Of this, Toledo City was able to collect P87.6 million while the remaining P5.3 million was collected by Mandaue City.
Carmen Copper Corporation, a fully-owned subsidiary of Atlas Mining, was the sole contributor to the mining shares collected by Toledo City.
In Region II, Oceanagold Philippines, Inc. contributed P29 million to the coffers of the Municipality of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.
The municipalities of Bataraza, Claver, Siocon and Tuba are examples of 4th class towns which are now 1st class municipalities with the entry of mining firms into their communities, COMP said.
The tax revenues, public infrastructure, jobs and livelihood generated through mining are testament that the industry is the government’s partner in social development, it said.
Majority of COMP members are already ISO 14001 certified and are also recipients of the Presidential Mineral Industry and Environmental Award for sustained responsible mining practices.