StandFIRM asked government not to stop mining instead pushed for responsible mining in the country.
“I am sure we are all gathered here for one reason: we are all pro-mining. Each of us has his own story why we are standing firm to fight for responsible mining. I am a walking proof of a sustainable development. A lot of people say responsible mining does not exist anymore. But here I am because I am a living testimony of sustainable development. The company and the mining industry may be gone but here I am because the mining company gives me the opportunity to study,” Amag said.
Amag said descriptions of mining in the country are overrated. “Simply they don’t understand both sides of the coin while I grew in a small scale area and now I have earned wisdom on what really is responsible mining. I will make it personal although for DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary Gina Lopez “trabaho lang walang personalan (it’s just work nothing personal)” it is very personal on my part because as a mining engineering student and as a mining engineer in the future my future is at stake and together with my fellow students,” he said.
Amag expressed disappointment as most of the people would really brand mining according to its past and he is referring to the nightmares brought by mining in the past.
“Why would we stop mining? Why don’t we just immobilize and innovate and make plans for the betterment instead of stopping it? DENR Gina Lopez is generalizing and I could really say that her knowledge about mining is narrowed down to her belief about this environmental protection,” he said.
He said as a scholar of NADECOR, they are enjoying a lot of benefits that the government does not see. He said the government is blinded by the fact that mining only caused destruction. He said as scholars they also do rehabilitation and tree planting even prior NADECOR’s operation.
“I am not only the scholar of King-King project there are more than hundreds of us. Why don’t we give chance to that opportunity that we can practice mining in a responsible way? I will always be an agent of responsible mining and I am hopeful that we can practice here what we have studied in the future,” Amag said.
Pitogo said in responsible mining, the destruction and disturbance are temporary.
“Temporary disturbance kasi ang (is the) hot issue now is open pit mining but there is what we call concurrent reclamation which means when mining the mined parts can be reclaimed by taking away the soil with minerals then put back the top soil and re-planted with appropriate seedlings endemic in the place,” Pitogo said.
He said responsible mining is rehabilitation, proper payment of taxes, respect for human rights and proper payment of royalties to communities affected.
He said they formed StandFIRM to let President Rodrigo Duterte and Lopez hear their voice for responsible mining.
Pitogo said they are planning to conduct exhibits nationwide to promote responsible mining. Lovely Carillo and Maya Padillo