MANILA, Philippines - Mining industry players have complained that the Aquino administration's rules and even the President's stance on mining are unclear.
So in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, October 17, Rappler business editor Lala Rimando asked President Aquino point-blank if he likes mining.
At best, the President's response was lukewarm.
"In the sense that it will create job opportunities and revenues, yes. But it is not the same investment as putting up an electronics or manufacturing (plant). It's not the same as improving the agriculture sector," said Aquino.
Watch the interview below:
He went on to list several catches. His main concern seemed to be making sure promoting mining interests in the short term doesn't leave the Filipino people with a raw deal in the long term.
"At the end of the day, the vast majority of our populace is not involved in mining but is also at risk, especially in all the mining areas. So the interests of the majority if not the entire populace should be the primary consideration, which I've often stated, rather than just a specific sector," said Aquino.
From Aquino's persepective, the benefits of mining are one-sided in favor of the mining companies.
"Extraction is a one-shot deal with attendant risk, there are several risks. And in terms of revenues generated, it is less than 10%. So our people seem to be getting the maximum risk but the least in terms of benefits. And we want to correct that situation," he said.
Mining companies take the exact opposite stance, citing the huge investments they pour into projects without guaranteed returns.
"I think it's a fair distribution of risk, bearing in mind that the total investment risk is on the private sector's shoulders. The government has no money on the table so to speak," Philex Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told Rappler earlier.
"And if it's a dry hole, so to speak, with respect to mining resources, with a private party trying to explore and develop the resource, there is no obligation on the part of the government to reimburse us for what we spent," he added. - Rappler.com
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