Yesterday, March 21, a small group discussion was held in SE 123. This discussion was organized to support Bantay Kita’s advocacy to promote transparency and accountability in the mining sector. Mr. Loi Manalansan, the program officer of Bantay Kita, presented to us the current state of the mining sector in the country. From his presentation, I learned that the total taxes, fees and royalties collected by the national and local governments from mining in 2012 is equivalent to Php 18,628.7 million, which is about 1% of the total 2012 budget. If the mining sector only contributes this little to the government budget, yet it poses a lot of detriments to our environment and many residential communities, then why continue with it? This is the reason why Bantay Kita strongly pushes for transparency and accountability.
Good governance is key to achieving these goals, and to further involve the attendees in the discussion, they were solicited for ideas and suggestions on how to improve governance and how the youth can participate in this endeavor. Some of these were:
- Collaboration of all sectors (the mining industries, LGUs & concerned communities) – engage them and demand measures from them
- Active information campaigns for the youth through CWTS, focus group discussions, etc.
- Link the youth to the concerned communities to integrate with them
- Make exhibits within UP to make these issues more mainstream
- Make the youth lobby for the FOI bill
- Bantay Kita should tie up with more student organizations (especially in the College of Science, College of Engineering, Econ and NCPAG)
- Conduct further studies to determine the correlation between poverty and mining in the country
Overall, the discussion was very informative and I became more aware of the issues involved in the mining sector.
PS. I also enjoyed the free food from Long Island. 😀