Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mining policy; missing great leadership

Business Mirror

GOOD leaders are common. You see them everywhere. Successful leaders are abundant. That is why most families, businesses and countries progress forward even if slowly and with hesitation at times.
Great leaders are rarer but can easily be identified through their actions and, more significantly, through their words. In fact, if you need to explain and justify why a person is a “good” leader, they are not. Quality leadership is always self-evident. You never had to define all the qualities that great teacher of yours had. That teacher just did the job much better than all the others.

In virtually every case, great political leaders confronted a serious and vital situation with strength and, more important, inspiration. Their actions are embodied by the words they used in leading. Even if people may have disagreed with the policy and decisions, there was no mistake as to who was in charge and what was going to be achieved.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated her economic policies clearly when she said, “They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money.” She then privatized the wasteful and inefficient government corporations while reducing taxes and welfare.

American President Ronald Reagan called communism “the focus of evil in the modern world.” His clearly stated goal was to bring down global communism. In Berlin at the closed gate between West and East Germany, he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Two years later, after 30 years, the Wall came down.

Mahatma Gandhi lived his words, “Non-violent non-cooperation with evil means cooperation with all that is good” as he peacefully gained India’s independence.

In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said at his inauguration, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and then created the far-reaching New Deal polices.

The newly stated policy on mineral development can be briefly summarized as:

1. Tourism areas and agricultural lands must be protected.

2. Environmental laws must be strictly adhered to and enforced, including those for small-scale operations.

3. The rights of and financial benefits to indigenous people for the use of their lands and resources must be strengthened and monitored at every step of mine development.

4. Congress must enact a new and more beneficial tax and revenue-sharing scheme for mining activities.

5. Downstream ore processing must be developed.

6. Mineral and resource development must be a policy determined and controlled by the national government.

So what is the big deal and why did it take18 months to come up with this? The executive order (EO) is a restatement, and yes, a good and necessary clear restatement, of existing policy and law with a few improvements.

All the consultations were a waste of time. Bringing together the people who want to return to the glory days of A.D. 1520 and those who would like to bomb Boracay with nukes looking for gold accomplished nothing. Further, the House and the Senate will do consultations all over again.

Resource and mineral development is economically critical to the Philippines and does affect every Filipino. The $1 trillion in mineral resources and the $300 billion necessary to develop those resources belong to the people, all the people.

After 18 months, the administration should have presented to the people and Congress a comprehensive legislative package to accomplish what is outlined in the EO, not simply a blank piece of paper.

The administration should have taken the time and the care to explain why this was the correct policy that the nation should follow, not issue a challenge to go to court if some group did not like it. Great leadership plots the course, lays the plans, and makes the difficult implementing decisions. The administration missed its chance for great leadership on this one.

Nothing in regard to PHL’s mining policy has drastically changed. Soon again we will invest in mining.

Shakespeare wrote, “It is a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

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