MS. GINA LOPEZ OF THE SAVE PALAWAN MOVEMENT AND ABS-CBN FOUNDATION VS MR. GERARD BRIMO OF PHILEX MINING CORPORATIONAND FORMERLY OF THE CHAMBER OF MINES OF THE PHILIPPINES
The Mining Debate in Development At Work Fora25 May & 3 June 201125 May 2011, 3 June 2011 -- The Center for De- Speaking as the head of the Save Palawanvelopment Management’s (CDM) Development Movement, Lopez showed videos and photo-At Work seminar series hosted the debate on graphs of her travels to Palawan’s virgin forests,mining in Palawan on two consecutive fora. Ms. with clean waters and wild flora and fauna, asGina Lopez of the Save Palawan Movement and well as her conversations with the indigenousABS-CBN Foundation spoke on May 25 2011, peoples of these areas that live with and off ofand Mr. Gerard Brimo of Philex Mining Corpo- these natural resources. In stark contrast toration and formerly of the Chamber of Mines of these beautiful images were those of miningthe Philippines presented his counter-argument sites, from the past and in more recent times,on June 3 2011. and how these have changed natural landscapes and seascapes, and how mining accidents have adversely affected people’s lives. Showing highlighted maps of regions that are currently going through large-scale mining, as well as those with mining applications, including Palawan and Zamboanga, Lopez bravely pointed a finger not just at mining corporations, but also at the national and local governments. According to her, while laws exist to guard against mining in protected areas, this does not usually matter given corruption on the level of local governments. Mining corporations become the source of development in these areas as they build schools and hospitals and homes, which puts the local government at an advantage of not having to spend on these basic services for their constituents. Lopez also pointed out that in these areas where mining exists, towns remain impoverished, highlighting the fact that the profits from mining do not go back to the community.Gina Lopez on mining’s adverse effects Because it’s clear to Lopez and the Save Palawan movement the “benefits” of mining, she asksThe premise of Ms. Gina Lopez’s presentation the basic question: is it worth it? Do the benefitson mining was simple: the Philippines has the of mining outweigh the damage that it could domost biodiverse natural forests, the kind where on the environment? Can we – or should we –animal and plant species have yet to be named ignore the possibility of an accident happeningand discovered, the kind that should not fall in mining sites, given our experiences with such?victim to the effects of mining, as so much ofour land already has. More on Gina Lopez. More on the Save Palawan Movement.
concerned, is crucial to a better assessment of mining’s presence in the country. A presence that, as far as he is concerned, has been well-controlled across the country, and even more so in Palawan where provincial min- ing laws are followed alongside national mining laws. Brimo also mentioned the fact that the photos of mining sites left in disarray, are of the past, before there was a sense of a environmen- talism and sustainable development in the coun- try and the world. He also highlighted how the areas that have gone through lateritic mining actually arent biodiverse forests, owing precisely to the fact of this mineral not being conducive to that kind of growth. Showing images of what happens in current mining sites that respect local laws on the envi- ronment, Brimos presentation also highlighted large scale minings successful efforts at reforest- ing area upon area of mined sites. Alongside theGerard Brimo on large scale minings bene- infrastructure that they build for and the ser-fits to the community vices they provide the community, Brimo high- lighted how mining corporations actually doGerard Brimo’s presentation responded to the more than they are required, where they createSave Palawan Movement in two ways: first, by industry and capital in areas that previously hadclarifying certain photographs, maps and very little of it.sources that the latter used in its own presenta-tion, and second, by highlighting the mining In the end, as far as Brimo is concerned, it is asector’s own efforts at contributing to the com- question of saving Palawan and the environmentmunities they become part of. from mining; it’s a matter of seeing that mining, ecotourism and environmentalism can go handWith regards maps that highlight the areas in hand towards development.where large scale mining exists vis a vis miningapplications, Brimo asserts that in fact many of More on Gerard Brimo.these applications are never approved, and willjust stay on that map without actually beginning More on the Chamber of Mines Philippines.operations. A revision of that map, as far as he’s