Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez this Sunday, February 5 answered some questions regarding her recent order to close 23 mining companies in the Philippines. And although many people admired her bravery and strong concern on the environment, some reacted on the possible jobs lost. Watch video below.
“One of the complaints of many people is the number of people that have lost their jobs. As far as I know, mining is not a labor intensive industry. It only gives 0.6 percent of the total employment in the country. In the study done in 2014, and this is government data, it’s 235,000 jobs, and that’s the entire industry.” Sec. Lopez said on her Facebook video.
“So I honestly don’t know where the numbers of 1.2 (million). What I do know is that for how many people are adversely affected by the closure, there are so many adversely affected for decades. We cannot must not and we must not build an economy where some people benefit and everyone else suffers.” Lopez added, as she calmly explains her side.
Sec. Lopez also emphasized that the people who will be left jobless by the closure shall not be left behind. She noted that based on her experience, a green economy creates many more jobs and is much much more sustainable, adding that in Yolanda-affected areas, the investors have obtained their Return of Investment (ROI) in less than a year.
Besides the effect on the economy, Sec. Lopez also mentioned the social cost of investing in a mining company. According to her, there are families who fight and even kill each other because of the social unrest. She also insisted that mineral land is not only for mining, but also for agriculture, and that farmers are earning thousands of pesos a week.
Lastly, Lopez said that she is not fighting with the owners of mining companies but is rather willing to work with them. The DENR secretary noted that the country will progress if people will take care of its natural resources in a way that many people will benefit. She said that investors can still help create jobs without the need to kill the rivers and seas.