WATER RESOURCES. There is fallacy to the scenario posited by some who say it's now a choice between food or mining when it can be instead food and mining. Not "or" but "and." The warning of a looming conflict over water within the next decade between mining and agriculture as framed by the speech of Climate Change Commission Vice Chair Lucille Sering was timely as it will bring into rational public discourse this issue that many anti-mining advocates conveniently use in their doomsday scenarios in scaring the public.
Big responsible mining companies that bring to our country world class mining best practices, as a matter of fact, directly address this issue and provide the answers on water resource scenarios for the future. For example, big, expensive and modern dams that responsible mining companies build and invest considerably in are designed precisely to impound water during big rains. They do not only prevent destructive floods but they make available water to the farms during non-rainy days. They insure productivity. They support agriculture even as they pump in considerable economic blood into the mainstream with their operations.
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These mining companies have track records to show elsewhere in the world. They come in and make available benefits that government, by its own track record, has failed in providing to its citizens.
We must strike a balance for the future. Let's all be enlightened and not continue to wallow in the quagmire of poverty and disinformation.
KEEP TALKING. Something disturbing must have happened in the last GPH-MILF peace negotiations. The meeting last May 28 in Malaysia ended without a joint statement issued and no date set for the next meeting, as customarily done. As if one side left the table in a huff. My grapevine told me the MILF rejected outright GPH's proposal on the governance and transition issues.
My advice to both sides: just continue talking. We've all gone this far. And there is no turning back for peace. The alternative consequence is unthinkable.
TWO MORE YEARS! Beginning this school year, two more years are added to our children's school life. But consider the following: there is even acute lack of classrooms and teachers even without the additional two years. Now we are adding two more years needing additional facilities and more teachers.
As it is, many families even prefer to send their children to short vocational courses so they start earning early for practical purposes. For the poor families, two more years is an additional burden and a longer wait. For those who can afford and can send their children to good schools, two more years is not necessary.
My personal view is: let's instead re-align the learning skills of our young to the demands of the employment market. Additional years look good on paper. But if the quality of education remains the same, we are only talking of quantity, not quality. I hear reports that there is feverish work on re-training our school teachers. Then I hear bureaucrats claiming we are catching up on the needed facilities. Really? Let's not fool ourselves. Let's not do this haphazardly!
PRESS. I was at the board meeting of the Philippine Press Institute in Manila earlier this week which discussed its position on various pending bills in Congress affecting the press. My personal view is: the more laws enacted relative to the press, the more there will be impingement on the freedom to express and of the press.
Laws are passed by politicians. Politicians and the press, considered as the 4th estate, are contending forces by the nature of their respective callings. So don't be surprised if legislations passed purportedly promoting press freedom contain countermanding provisions hidden somewhere, intentional or otherwise.
I have straddled both sides of the fence, being a public official for many years and a media person for about the same length of time. So I've seen this up close. The less laws enacted, the better for press freedom!
Sun Star Network(www.sunstar.com.ph)
By Jesus “Jess” Dureza, Advocacy MindaNOW
Friday, June 15, 2012