BAGUIO CITY Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan belied serious allegations from concerned stakeholders that local governments did not benefit from the operation of mining companies in the region over the past several decades, saying that the city has significantly benefitted from the operation of small and large-scale mining in Benguet since the companies existed in the early 1900s.
Aside from being instrumental in the attainment of higher degree of education of the children of mine workers, the local chief executive pointed out mining provided thousands of people not only in the Cordillera but also from other parts of the country sustainable sources of livelihood that resulted in the improvement of their living condition through the years.
“It is not totally true that local governments never benefitted from mining. We have to be realistic about our statements while it is also true that there are some serious negative effects of mining, especially to the environment which must also be addressed by the concerned companies being pinpointed for their violations,” Domogan stressed.
On how the city gained from mining over the past several decades, he explained the children of miners study in the city considering that it is the center for education in the north and the families of miners transact business in the city being the center of trade and commerce.
According to him, mining is a capital-intensive business because of the magnitude of their operations, thus, there are quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits of mining to their host and neighboring communities.
Domogan underscored numerous individuals who come from the mining communities were able to become professionals because of the earnings of their parents which they used in their studies over the past several years and such contribution of mining could not be quantified.
He added the quantifiable contributions of mining is the infrastructure development in the host and neighboring communities, the implemented social development and management programs (SDMP), the provision of livelihood assistance to the miners and their families, the share of the host and neighboring barangays from the national wealth taxes paid by the mining companies apart from the business and real property taxes directly paid to the concerned local governments among others.
However, Domogan emphasized it is the role of concerned government agencies to monitor the compliance of mining companies to stringent environment laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the impact of mining to the environment will be lessened and for whatever damages to be properly mitigated by the concerned mining companies.
Domogan claimed it would be unfair to equate the damages caused by mining to the environment and its contributions to mining, citing the need to actually balance the said distinct issues because it is not conclusive that mining is totally detrimental to the communities where the companies operate./By Dexter A. See#