Mercantilism as a guiding economic policy impelled Spainto build her wealth from abroad that resulted in thestockpiling of precious metals. The “Adelantados” and their Frayles companions sentby the Spanish King to these islands did not find gold incommercial quantities, but in the course of their“pacification campaigns” against the Indios, they howevercontinued to explore mining areas.On their 3 centuries of colonial rule, the Spaniards failedto penetrate the gold rich due to the Gran Cordillera Centralfierce resistance of the Ygorotes. The gold workings andhoard of the yellow metal effectively remained inindigenous hands until the coming of the Americans.
Philippines as economicallystagnant- headway of progression.The worthless succession of Peninsulares & Insularestransplanted by the crown did not have the determinationand capability to develop the local mining industry. WhenSpain lost her empire in the new world during the early 1800s, the Philippines consequently wallowed in economicstagnation and general stupor.Yet, during the midst of 1820s-1870s, Spain introducedliberal economic policies, the opening of Manila to worldtrade, and the operation of Suez Canal. In the process, theMestizos and the scions of Principalia had emerged .It was by this time that Philippine mineral production andtrade grew & the Royal Decree of 1837 was enacted.
EFFECTS OF CONTINUOUS MINING OF LEPANTO CORPORATION
The Superiority of AmericaAmerica at the 20th century had an expanding industrialsystem characterized by the predominance of MonopolyCapitalism and the Corporation. These industrial systemneeded vast sources of raw materials including energyminerals and base metals, even its appetite for preciousmetals didn’t diminish.US Government adopted the policy of Monometallism. The fulfillment of the Philippine Bill of 1902 ( secondPhilippine Mining Law). America’s imperialist mining interests immediatelyexploited Philippine mineral resources (especially gold), andproceeded with the systematic development of the bigmining industry.
US Army troops vs. 49’ers The north American gringos had vanquished both the Insurrectos fighting for the first Philippine Republic and Cordilleran tribal communities occupying the mineral-rich hinterlands. Yet, these 49’ers remained in the country to become the vanguard of American big mining interests. In 1907, Benguet Mine (the 1st modern gold mine in the Philippines) was established. Subsequently, 17 other adjacent gold mines were opened in the Baguio district. 1930’s which was considered as the US colonial rule in the country, was also considered as the Boom years of the Philippine large-scale mining industry. In 1936, the Commonwealth Act No. 137 (3rd Phil. mining law) was enacted.
World War II brought a tremendous havoc on the miningindustry, especially during the invasion and liberation stage. To carry out the grand imperialist design for a “Greater EastAsia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, the Japanese war machinecommandeered strategic metal ores to support its war effortand the expanding industries in its homeland, all during thebrief but brutal occupation. Many Japanese tradingcompanies that operated in the country during the pre-waryears turned out to be fronts of the Japanese war machine,and whose officials and employees were military intelligenceofficers and spies.
The granting of Philippine Independence by the UnitedStates in 1946--- amid the ruinous post war era wasimmediately followed by imposition, on a prostate nation, ofthe “Parity Rights Amendment ( Roxas) “ and the mutuallybeneficial Laurel-Langley Agreement on trade and relatedmatters. Ostensibly, the big mining industry was “Filipinized” whilebeing rebuilt. Rehabilitation of gold mines was done during 1940s. Copper was started to be explored in the early 1950s. Open pit mining for large tonnage and low-grade copperdeposits were introduced. The period of 1960- 1980 was the Golden Age of PhilippineBig Mining, even as the neo-colonial “intimate relations”retained the pre-existing trade patterns and ownership ofmining companies by US individuals and corporations.
In 1972 with the imposition of Martial Law,paved way for the reign of Greed in the MiningIndustry under the pretext of Presidential DecreeNo. 463 (P.D. 463) issued in 1974 as the country’s4th mining law. The decades of 1980-1990 towards the end ofMartial Law and the fall of Marcos was the “DarkPeriod” of the mining industry. It triggered thepainful dying process of the domino closure andshutdown of 14 big & medium-sized metal mines.
With the 500, 000 men, women , and childrendigging and panning again for the gold metals ofMandaya Tribe, the Mount Diwalwal rushed ofhaving 150, 000 subterranean loving inhabitants,and its gold did not elude the covetous eyes of theMarcos’ cronies & himself as they had caused theprompt enactment of P.D. 1899 (small-scalemining law) in 1984. All these had a hand inshaping more than 50% share of the small-scalegold mining sector in the country’s total goodoutput.
In part, the basis of the Liberalizing and restructuring themining industry was the Philippine Mining Act of 1995(Republic Act 7942). The train of big-mining-relateddevelopments and government actions foreshadowed animpending resurrection of the big mining industry.Apparently, the process is that of an inexorable shift fromsmall-scale and labor-intensive to large-scale andmechanized operations, from a Filipino to a transnationa-dominated mining industry. As of now, big mining is but a “shell of its former self”.