Gina’s orders endangering other sectors too, says exporters group
The Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) aired its “strong concern” regarding the cancellation order of 75 mining contracts last week, warning against economic repercussions in export growth and employment.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez ordered on Tuesday the cancellation 75 mining contracts involving operations allegedly within watershed areas.
The order drew flak from business groups, calling out on the government for not first following due process as promised. This comes on top of another order last February 2 to close 23 mining firms and suspend five others.
On Friday, Philexport echoed the plea of affected stakeholders, adding that this will have “serious local and global trade repercussions.”
“Secretary Lopez’s action is posing danger not just to the mining sector, but also to other sectors in the supply chain including drilling, construction, hauling and shipping, processing companies, manpower and transportation service providers,” said Philexport President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. in a statement.
“Where will these people go for jobs and livelihood, not to mention the effects on their dependents and the other stakeholders in the communities hosting them?” he said.
READ: Is Gina bent on killing mining industry?
The DENR chief promised to help cushion the backlash on displaced workers through funds, but Ortiz-Luis expressed his “doubt if these funds can be immediately disbursed.”
This would “further worsen” the country’s export performance, added Ortiz-Luis, as it currently copes to the slump in global demand.
Moreover, he said this would also undermine investor confidence and have a toll on the supply chain.
He noted that transparency and due process were not followed in spite of the promises earlier made by the Duterte administration.
“But none of these took place and instead, these firms are now going through ‘trial by publicity’ that taints the good name they have established for years.”
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, which he said is a member of Philexport, has majority of its members following internationally accepted standards and more are undergoing accreditation process, he said.
He said that instead of targeting legitimate mining firms, the DENR should just focus on addressing the problems caused by illegal mining operations./rga