No Gina, there are no mines in 10 poorest PH provinces
None of the 10 poorest provinces in the country hosts a mine, belying Environment Secretary Regina Lopez’s claim that “the poorest areas in the Philippines are mining areas,” according to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).
“We do not cause suffering in areas where we operate, contrary to Lopez’s belief,” COMP executive vice president Nelia C. Halcon said in a statement.
“In fact, we ease these sufferings by complementing the government’s delivery of social services and by implementing our environmental protection and enhancement programs,” Halcon said.
The COMP cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2015 First Semester Poverty Statistics, which lists among the poorest provinces Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Sarangani, Northern Samar, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, Siquijor and Agusan del Sur.
In these provinces, poverty incidence was recorded at 74 percent in Lanao del Sur and 54 percent in Agusan del Sur.
“None of these provinces play host to mining firms,” Halcon said.
“On the other hand, the mining towns of Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region posted low poverty incidence according to the PSA report in 2012,” she said.
Halcon said Itogon, which hosts Benguet Corp. and Philex Mining Corp., posted a poverty incidence of 4.8 percent.
She said poverty incidence in Mankayan, where Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. operates, was pegged at 6.2 percent. This was also recorded at 4.6 percent Tuba, where Philex is present.
Halcon said the Caraga region benefited the most from mining taxes according to the December 2015 report of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
“Caraga was able to collect P106.9 million from the different extractive companies operation,” she said. “But it was the province of Cebu that posted the highest in tax shares, collecting around P93 million.” Ronnel W. Domingo
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