Press Release
October 20, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara advised mining companies with operations in the Philippines to partner with the academe and local communities in rolling out responsible mining technologies and fostering a non-adversarial environment conducive to investments.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that Leo Jasareno, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, told reporters that the Philippines may not reach the US$2.8 billion target for mining investments given a standing moratorium on new permits.

Earlier, Secretary Ramon J. Paje underscored the commitment of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to address the increasing concerns of various sectors, including local governments, on the environmental and social impacts of mining before issuing any new mining permits.

"We know our country is blessed with abundant mineral deposits," remarked Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE). "Entire ecosystems of industries can be established around these to spur investments and economic development, especially in the provinces."

He continued, "But we also know of the many occasions where mines have wreaked havoc on our environment and our people. We definitely should not run things the way we used to."

The veteran lawmaker explained that, "Many companies are now devoting significant resources to deploy the world's top technologies for environmental protection.

"They would do good on their investments if they participate in an innovation cluster for responsible mining where they could engage in technology transfer and tap local universities and communities to conduct biodiversity inventories, water quality tests, and social impact assessments. This could actually help create a deep talent pool for high-value jobs in S&T for mining," he said.

COMSTE has been pushing for the formation of innovation clusters--tripartite partnerships in R&D among government, the academe and industry--to solve the nation's most pressing issues and promote growth in key industries.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) have expressed their commitment to funding an innovation cluster in responsible mining technologies, during their respective Senate budget hearings.

"Innovation clusters for mining can help ease the tensions faced by our mining sector because local communities will become direct stakeholders and will be meaningfully engaged. Thousands of jobs can be created on account of developing a mining industry that is not only environmentally sustainable but socially acceptable as well," said Angara.

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