Lopez: ‘Green economy can create more jobs than mining’
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez on Saturday said that the agency will take care of those who will lose their jobs due to the closure of 23 large-scale mining firms in the country.
READ: DENR shuts down 23 mining areas
“On the jobs, give me a year and a half. Hahamunin ko sila. A green economy can create more jobs than mining, than they could ever imagine,” Lopez said in an interview with DZMM.
“We will definitely take care [of those who will lose their jobs], that’s why we’re gonna start on February 16-18, may massive planning sa lahat ng (in all) mining areas to come up with an alternative economy, where we’ll put the money so everyone has a job. Walang problema ‘yan, aayusin lahat,” she added.
She also questioned the number of people who will lose their jobs in the closure of mines, noting that mining is a capital- and not a labor-intensive industry.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) earlier said 1.2 million will lose their jobs, with their families affected as well.
READ: 1.2M workers to lose jobs due to closure of 23 mines–COMP
“In the numbers I saw from the government, in 2014, mining produced 235,000 jobs, while tourism produced 4.7 million jobs, so I thought, why all of a sudden it became a million? And that is the mining for the whole country, now all of a sudden Dinagat and Surigao lang has become 1.5 million, saan nanggagaling ‘yang number na ‘yan (where is that number coming from)?” she asked.
She admitted that though mining has created jobs, it has more adverse effects to communities and people.
“So we make our choice, and kung isuspend lang pagmimina, hindi ko naman sila iiwanan, ‘yang mga nagtatrabaho diyan, aalagaan naman sila (and if we suspend the mines, we will make sure that we will take care of the workers),” she said.
The DENR secretary said that the development of the sites will create more jobs.
“[Para] ang economy nila, hindi maging dependent sa mina o outside influence. Pera nila ‘yan, resources nila ‘yan (So that their economy will not depend on mining and outside influences. That is their money, their resources), let them live in the beauty of their place,” Lopez added. IDL
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