Saturday, 27 February 2010

PGMA leaving RP mining sector a ‘legacy of growth’

MANILA, Feb. 26 (PNA) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is leaving the country’s mining industry a legacy of sustainable growth, highlighted last year by a hefty 23 percent growth and $ 640 million investments inflow despite the global financial crisis.

The improved industry outlook will be enough to sustain another double digit growth this year, said Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, after industry representatives on Friday joined the President in Malacanang on the awarding of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA), given yearly to recognize mining companies with strong environmental protection programs.

In an interview, Romualdez said the President’s decisions and policies have helped in the unprecedented growth and sustainability of the industry.

“The mining industry continues to grow. In fact, it continues to be the star performer in the economy, growing double digit for a few years now. We expect that to continue to grow to 2010 and beyond,” Romualdez said.

In 2004, the President issued Executive Order No. 270/270A, or the National Policy Agenda on Revitalizing Mining in the Philippines, providing for action plans, in partnership with various stakeholders, to ensure environmental protection, equitable distribution of the benefits of mining operations, recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples, transparency in government-private sector action plans, and community participation in decision-making processes.

The revitalization program promoted mining investments and streamlining of the permit process that led to higher investment inflows, bringing the total to $ 2.8 billion since 2004.

More mineral development projects are in the pipeline and investments are expected to reach $ 13.5 billion by 2013.

“We have to thank the President. Many people seem to criticize her for many things but she has made some very difficult decisions and, in many cases, unpopular decisions. Because of those hard decisions, you can see a sector like the mineral sector continuing to grow,” Romualdez said.

With the revitalization program, the mining and quarrying sector increased its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from P21.6 billion in 2000 to P100.5 billion in 2009, or from 0.6 percent to 1.3 percent of GDP.

“Its impact on GDP has been incredible. We continue to export over $ 3.6-billion worth and we have about $ 3- billion of investments thus far. We expect more investments this year, about $ 1.5-billion for 2010, and additional investments into the sector by 2013 of about $ 10-billion more,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said the next administration “is going to be very lucky because a lot of the difficult issues, decision making and confidence building have been worked out during the past few years.”

“Now we are seeing a lot of investments coming in and we expect that to continue. And it should be beneficial to the economy and create more jobs and development in the rural areas where there is a lot of poverty,” Romualdez said.

Also present during the awarding rites were Presidential Adviser on Climate Change Secretary Heherson Alvarez, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Horacio Ramos.

The three PMIEA were Sagittarius Mines, Inc. based in Tampakan, South Cotabato; Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc. located at Tubod, Surigao del Norte; and Holcim Phils. Manufacturing Corp. located at Lugait, Misamis Oriental.

Secretary Ramos said the biggest legacy of the President is the way she balanced environmental protection and economic development, and the advocacy of sustainable development.

“This legacy has been institutionalized in the industry already. Many of our investors have now been proceeding towards not purely profit-oriented but also somehow established a precedent in environmental protection and social responsibility in the various projects particularly in the natural resources sector,” Ramos said.

Ramos said the President signed and issued many environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act, the Forestry Act, and the Solid Waste Management Act.

Since 2001, Ramos said the country’s forest cover increased from five million to seven million hectares, and the President declared 34 protected areas, an effort that earned the recognition of the environmental watchdog, Conservation International.

In today’s event, the President also awarded the Most Environmentally Compliant Industries to eight companies which excelled in environmental management in their areas of operation. (PNA)

1 comment:

  1. Politicians break out all this abstractness during elections. What does he mean by "empowerment is the cure to poverty?" Empowerment is the negative opposite of poverty. You can't be needing for anything materially and be a part of the empowered class.

    Education─vocational, exportable, marketable education is a quick fix that will hold the Philipinos over until they can start producing fundamental technologies and materials that the world will need and want.

    I'm starting from ZERO in the Philippines, without a CENT. NOTHING. I'm documenting it all here