The couple of recent Itogon landslides opened the eyes of a lot of people about mining.
Mining is the epitome of a “double edged sword” to our local economy and environment.
On the good side, it became an excellent provider of resources to our locality.
Firstly, mining had been the source of of livelihood for many of our kailayans for a long, long time, whether as laborers, as dealers, or as investors.
A lot of us are aware that a lot of Cordillerans were able to put food on the table for their families because they are the ones digging through the tunnels to find the riches beneath the earth or acting as retailers of these finished products. A certain minority also had patiently monitored prices of stocks of some of the mining companies listed in the stock exchange to take advantage of their fluctuations or the dividends they offer.
Second, in some case, infrastructure became available to the public mainly because of mining which makes transport of other local produce easier and cheaper.
On the other hand, these supposed economic gains came at a very heavy price.
The destruction of the greenery, loss of clean water and the landslides are just some of the ugly sides of mining.
We all know what happened during the recent the Itogon landslides. The words of our President, Rodrigo Duterte, were loud enough to highlight the bad sides of the mining industry
On a personal note, I happened to have a closer view of some aspects of both sides.
A a member of the academe on the business section and, because of it, becoming an observer of how the stock market works, I did see how one could earn in the mining industry indirectly.
As a person with some ties with Kibungan and Tublay, I got to experience closely some of the effects of these mines.
Tublay became devoid of a viable water system for the town because tests in recent years showed that the water coming from the supposed source was still not potable even though the cause, Sto. Nino Mines, had already been shut down in the ’80s.
I also got the chance to have a good view of a portion of the Boneng-Lubo dam that was used in operating its open pit mine through my grandparents’ house which was directly situated above it.
These photos, taken just this January, 2018, is a good reminder how open pit mining leaves a long lasting effect. Although the photo now shows the area full of green again but it also still shows a spot made of sand and rock particles, a sight which used to cover all of the area for a majority of the years past.
I remembered how my older folks used to talk about how the Western Minolco Corporation’s declaration of bankruptcy in the early 80s, negatively affected the residents and the employees and how it left land lessors and investors hanging dry.
Not to mention the destruction of lands that made then useless in both arable farming and cattle pasture because of the landfills that were dumped during the mining operations and also the loss of potable water source.
The irony of it is, unlike some of the more favorable case, Lubo and Boneng failed to get the better infrastructure and development “privileges” from the mine operator that some places did.
The government is moving towards disallowing mining due to environment concerns. Dear readers, we wish you to share your opinion: How to you see the proposal of banning the mining industry in the Cordilleras?
(By: Armando M. Bolislis)
Banner photo: Personnel of the Itogon Municipal Police Station led by Chief Inspector Heherson Zambale inspects tunnels used by small scale miners at Sitio First Gate in Itogon, Benguet following the implementation of the stoppage of operation of the Small Scale Mining in the Cordillera region effective October 1, 2018. RMC PIA-CAR
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