Poorest provinces have no mining industry
The first indication that one side is beginning to lose an argument is when it starts to resort to false claims and baseless assertions. The more important the argument and the greater the resulting humiliation, the more outrageous and brazen the false claims become.
The nation is currently witnessing a manifestation of this persistent tendency. The subject of the false claims and baseless assertions is the campaign of the Duterte administration – more specifically, the campaign of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – against this country’s mining industry. Realizing that she is on the verge of losing the argument about the right of the Philippine mining industry to continue existing, DENR head Gina Lopez has made a declaration seeking to place the mining industry within the context of the poverty situation in this country.
Several weeks ago, Secretary Gina, in her best mining-is-evil tone, said this to the members of a Congressional committee: “The poorest areas in the Philippines are mining areas.” Naturally, the legislators were alarmed, but the alarm lasted only until the mining folk, citing Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and individual corporate data, pointed out the absolute incorrectness of Secretary Gina’s brazen assertion.
“Studies do not support the contention that mining increases poverty in the areas where (mining companies) operate,” quickly retorted Chito Gozar, a senior official of OceanaGold Corporation, one of the largest gold producers in this country. “On the contrary, mining (activity) spikes household incomes in mine sites,” he said.