I am for development, but I am also for sustainability. I vehemently oppose anything that puts the environment at risk. Benguet Corporation is in the process of consulting with the indigenous peoples of Adams, Vintar, Carasi, Solsona and Nueva Era in recognition of The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) as a requirement for its Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) application filed in the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office under the implementing rules and regulations of RA 7942 known as “The Philippine Mining Act of 1995” authored by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Ilocos Norte is host to a portion of the remaining intact forests in the country that are fast dwindling. We need to protect and conserve these primary forests known to be high-biodiversity areas. They play a very important role in climate change mitigation and soil erosion prevention. Surface runoffs and massive soil erosion leading to loss of lives are possible worst-case scenarios resulting from unsustainable practices in industrialization. In open-pit mining, besides silting and degradation of surrounding forests that supply high-quality water, loss of hardwood trees from clearcutting for the construction of roads and facilities are imminent.
The promise of jobs and profit in mining may seem attractive at first. What people don’t see are the long term effects, both environmental and social, that short-term mining activities bring. Social disintegration, abrupt changes in cultures, displacement, exploitation of women, hazardous working conditions are among the issues the communities may have to face.
Ecotourism is an emerging industry that contributes to the well-being and improves the quality of life of people living in stunning natural areas. Ilocos Norte has so much to offer in terms of natural wealth. We can’t promote ecotourism and let mining in at the same time.
Our wealth of natural wonders is the rarest of all gold.
Photo Credit: Allan Pagdilao for LEAD Movement
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