On 11 March 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte says he is willing to let go of the P70-billion earnings the government collects from mining operations. “We can live without it. I would rather follow Gina. Maghanap-buhay na lang tayo ng iba, get the P70 billion somewhere else and preserve the environment. ‘Wag na tayong magbolahan,” he said on Saturday.
P70-billion is no small amount. This is a substantial amount of money which can be used to develop areas and communities that are beyond the reach of the government. A substantial amount of money that can be utilized by the Filipino people whose battle-cry has long been ‘inclusive growth’.
Based on the World Bank for the current 2017 fiscal year, and calculated using the World Bank Atlas method:
Low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita of $1,025 or less.
Lower middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $1,026 and $4,035. Fifty-two (52) countries including the Philippines are in this bracket.
Upper middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita between $4,036 and $12,475. Fifty-six (56) countries including South Africa are in this bracket.
While High-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of $12,476 or more. Seventy-nine (79) countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States are included in this list.
How can a country such as the Philippines move from a low-income economy to a high-income one? The best way is to take a long hard look at its neighbors.
Though jumping from a low-income economy to a high-income one may be a tall order, and the Philippines using the mining models of Australia, Canada and the US are too idealistic, it would be to the country’s best interest to redirect its gaze to a country with similar trades, businesses and the challenges that go with it. When it comes to minerals development, South Africa is the country closest to the Philippines.
The billion dollar question (no pun intended) which begs to be answered: Can an economy be built on mining?
South African Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Martin Slabber shares with us his insights on what Africa was, to what it is now because of mining. A privileged discussion, this story was crafted in the hopes of giving the Philippine government a glimpse of “what our economy could be” if ethical and responsible mining practices were done in the Philippines.
For the full story, refer to page 38 of the Philippine Resources Journal with the subject – An economy that was built on mining: How the Philippines can learn from South Africa by Maria Paula Tolentino
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Taken by South African Ambassador HE Martin Slabber