Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun said that the local mining industry is not the “magic remedy” to the Philippines’ economic woes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the adverse environmental effects of ramped up mining activities.
“If mining companies had $4.38 billion in mineral exports, but with only 0.5% contribution to employment, how much has this employment actually contributed to the local economy in terms of consumer spending, local businesses, and community growth?” asked Fortun.
Lamenting that while investors gain huge profits from mining, the country hardly reaps any benefit from it, the solon said: “The mining industry contributes only a meager 0.6% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and host communities have remained poor and underdeveloped.”
Fortun, who is also pushing for the repeal of the Philippine Mining Act of 1994, stressed that mining activities disrupt wildlife that may lead to or contribute to the spread of animal diseases among humans just like what is suspected to have happened with the new coronavirus.
“These alarming concerns of transmission of animal diseases to humans are compounded by the growing number of studies that link pandemics to mining activities,” the lawmaker said.
“This happens particularly when humans invade our forests and other natural animal habitats to mine, and in the process, get infected with viruses or diseases from animals,” he added.