BAGUIO CITY – A famed business tycoon underscored the country’s businessmen are not blind on the other potential uses of the land such as tourism and agriculture vis-à-vis the existence of responsible mining all over the place.
“We are all for developing tourism, and eco-tourism, too. We believe in the future of agriculture, of feeding our people first,” Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the Tuba-based Philex Mining Corporation, said in his speech during the 106th Charter anniversary of Baguio City which was read by lawyer Michael Toledo, media bureau head of the said company.
Pangilinan admitted his companies have serious investments in agricultural, particularly in sugar and coconut but if people continue to stifle mining, the criticism that it promises much and delivers little will be self-fulfilling.
However, he cited that when people look elsewhere mining has been a significant driver of economic development.
“Our long existence of operation in the Cordilleras and of working with and for the indigenous peoples has imbedded in us a culture of caring and sharing, not just to ourselves and to our shareholders, but to the surrounding communities that play host to or are adjacent to our mine. If our business is good, if it stays competitive enough, the community and people also benefit,” Pangilinan stressed.
He claimed the fact that the country is still far from capturing the implied value of our reserves, thus, the challenge is precisely to grow mining so that it creates more value and benefits for the people.
According to him, therein lies the same challenge to Baguio to sustain its competitiveness to make it grow so that it creates more value and benefits for its people without exhausting its resources.
“Nurturing a culture of caring and sharing simply means the involvement of all concerned, all stakeholders, so that the quest for improvement or development is owned by all, not just by the city government nor the business sector nor the indigenous peoples community, but even by those who occasionally come up to Baguio as I do,” he added.
He cited this year’s theme of the Charter anniversary is quite a challenge because at first glance, it seems like a paradox considering that how does caring and sharing seems in conflict with competitiveness.
If there is anything that the people have learned, however, he claimed that it is that the direction to be competitive means the need to be inclusive growth is what builds a truly sustainable business.
Pangilinan cited it is what powers a truly competitive nation but responsible mining for example is not so much about delivering profits to shareholders, as improving peoples lives.
He cited Baguio, of all cities, understands the same, thus, the development of the country’s mineral resources, the protection of the environment and the uplifting of communities, are inextricably connected.
By Dexter A. See