A RESEARCH group identified with the leftist “national democratic” movement has urged the five presidential candidates to come up with a plan that will put an end to large-scale mining in the country since it has made no substantial contribution to the economy.
Ibon Foundation said what large-scale mining has done to the country are “destruction, poverty and attacks on mining-affected areas.”
Large-scale mining has “done little for the economy,” Ibon argued.
Ibon’s statement was issued after the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) recently expressed hopes for a mining rebound in 2016 because of the seemingly “mining-friendly” roster of presidential candidates.
CMP said it prefers a President who will uphold the Mining Act of 1995 and ensure the benefits of mining investors.
The five presidential candidates are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, former Interior chief Manuel Roxas 2nd, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
According to Ibon, the large-scale mining industry has “only contributed an annual average of 0.4 percent of total employment in 1997-2014 and 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1998-2014.”
The AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM) and the Philippine Climate Justice Movement (PCJM) also believe that the mining industry has made little contribution to the country’s economy.
Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM, said, “If we compute the government data itself from 1995 where the mining industry [officially]started up to this date, its contribution to the economy, that is to GDP [gross domestic product], is less than 1 percent. That is the average per year for 20 years.”
“In other words, [the mining industry]made no significant contribution to the economy,” Garganera added.
PCJM president Liddy Nacpil told The Manila Times that the industry’s contribution to the economy was extremely smaller than what the mining firms have been accumulating from the country’s mineral resources, which form part of the country’s wealth.
Checking with data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), The Manila Times found that the contribution of the mining industry to the country’s GDP last year alone was pegged at 0.7 percent.
The same figure was recorded for in 2012 and 2013 but for 2011, the contribution to GDP was reported at one percent, according to the MGB.
In terms of employment, MGB noted that the mining industry has provided as many as 255,000 jobs (in the 2nd quarter of 2015) and as low as 211,000 jobs (in 2011). These figures were only 0.6 percent of the total employed workers in 2015 and 2011.
In terms of taxes, fees and royalties, MGB revealed that the highest collective amount paid by the mining industry to the government (national government, local government units, Bureau of Internal Revenue, DENR and MGB was recorded last year at P27.9 billion and the lowest was in 2012 with P19.44 billion.
According to Ibon’s chief researcher Rosario Bella Guzman, the MGB data have clearly proven three things: that the mining industry contributes very little to the Philippine economy, contributes abundantly to the economy of other countries and yielded high profit to the mining firms.
Guzman pointed out that the poor or small contribution of the mining industry to the country’s economy was not only during the past five years but since after the Mining Act of 1995 was implemented 20 years ago.
Ibon argued that “the 2016 elections is an opportunity for presidential hopefuls genuinely concerned with national development and industrialization to rethink the country’s mining liberalization policy.”