This is not the first time that a debate on mining vs. environmental concerns is taking place. A fierce debate happened as far back as 2012. If I remember right both mining groups and the government were determined to find the formula for responsible mining. It was accepted that there was a difference between responsible and irresponsible mining.
The new government was preparing a new Executive Order on mining to meet both the concerns of the mining industry and environment. It took time to come up with the details of the executive order. Millions of dollars had already been invested by mining groups from abroad. The government was sitting on it. If the Philippines was not as rich as it is in minerals, it would not have mattered.
But I don’t think we should leave the last word to Ms. Gina Lopez. Her opinionated views on mining is anti-people. It is well known that with our mineral riches (I think the third in the world), mining is the only big ticket industry that can lift our economy. By this I mean to lift the lives of millions of our countrymen from squalor and poverty – not merely higher GNPs.
It will not come with changing laws or policies to please all clashing vested interests. I am afraid EOs, however well they are crafted, are only words on a piece of paper. It is a start but it will not be enough to make the mining industry work for the country. It will need leadership with a vision and the will to realize that vision. Uppermost in that vision is how it is implemented and supervised.