Small Scale Gold Mining/Human Rights Watch
To extend more support to small-scale miners, the integration of the “big brother-small brother” strategy within the social development and management programs (SDMP) of large mining companies is now being studied by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In a recent interview, Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga said now is the high time for big mining firms to help small-scale miners meet their social development targets by setting aside a portion of their social development fund for the purpose.
“There must be a way to negotiate the resilience of communities where mining is happening, the social development needs to happen,” Loyzaga noted.
“This way inclusivity in terms of the progress of the community as a whole can really be institutionalized,” she continued
Loyzaga described the “big brother-small brother” strategy as one that would include capacitating small miners and enhancing the resilience of mining communities.
To enable such, the environment chief explained that there is a need to revisit the social development funding of large mining companies.
“In this government, you cannot move forward with your for-profit agenda without a national dividend that redounds to a local community. And that’s the bottom line,” she emphasized.
Under the DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining contractors and permit holders are required to have an SDMP, which aims for the sustained improvement in the living standards of host and neighboring communities.
The SDMP has a timeline of five years and is funded by the companies themselves by allocating 1.5 percent of their annual expenses.
From the aforementioned allocation, 75 percent goes to community development, 10 percent goes to the development of mining technology and geosciences, while the remaining 15 percent is used for information, education, and communication campaign.
Loyzaga assured that the mining industry is open for responsible miners who consider not only the environmental aspects of mining but also promote social development.
“You cannot move forward with your for-profit agenda without a national dividend that redounds to a local community. And that’s the bottom line,” expressed. — Jel Santos
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