April 22, 2021
Written by John Carlo Tria
As we move forward in recovery, I believe it is vital that we recognize an economic sector that has its roots in the rural areas and has a foothold in many areas in Mindanao. These are our natural resource-based industries.
Our constitution, specifically article 12, section 2 defines the scope of our natural resources to include minerals and timber, among others. The constitutional provision also includes important portions about how such utilizations may be made, to wit:
“The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements”
Moreover, sustainable development principles require us to use resources in a judicious manner that meets the needs of both present and future generations.
With this, it is clear that we are not prohibited from utilizing our natural resources, contrary to the idea pushed by a few i have encountered that these resources ought to be left untouched.
What matters, therefore, is that our natural resources these be used and utilized responsibly. All businesses for that matter, need to managed sustainably and in a responsible manner. Environmental Impact Assessments are required for this purpose, and impacts need to be monitored over time.
Natural resources are indigenous or local. Utilizing them responsibly can create wealth and catalyze many local livelihood and employment opportunities in the countryside and can boost the local economy, driving employment not only in the direct utilization but in its downstream industries and businesses.
With these potentials our recovery can be given a needed boost, the minerals sector therefore deserves a deeper look.
The DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau is the steward of our nation’s mineral resources and promotes sustainable mineral resources development.
It would be a good idea to visit their website and see how the environmental and social safeguards, including post mine scenarios and health protocols can be implemented.
In future columns I will discuss other resource-based industries deserving a deeper look.
Continue to stay safe everyone.
Article first appeared in the Manila Bulletin website last April 21, 2021.