Ignored in Election Run-Up
Richard Mills, Chairman
are justifiably proud of their democratic tradition that is one of the
longest-running and most entrenched in the Asia region. Unfortunately, their
enthusiasm for democracy can sometimes get out-of-hand during election time.
In the run up to
the most recent Philippine elections, more than 100 people were killed while
seeking political appointments or helping others who were. As bad as it
seems, this tragedy wasn’t considered that severe by local standards. The
numbers were much higher in the previous election and the long term trend
seems to be toward less bloodshed rather than more.
surprisingly, the mining industry took great interest in the election
results. Mining has been one of the most contentious political issues in
Philippines over the
past few years. The industry thought the election would be as much a
referendum on mining as on the general politics of the nation. Miners
in anticipation of abuse from politicians eager to gain advantage by
attacking greedy foreign companies for exploiting the country, its people
and so on.
politicians turned their back on the mining industry throughout the
otherwise rowdy campaigning. It seems the mining industry has successfully
turned the political tide. It was not so long ago that being a miner in the
Philippines was a dangerous assignment. Today, the mining industry seems to
have become just another mundane business that gets no more attention than
fruit growers or component assemblers.
Many feel that
the pioneering efforts in social responsibility and environmental protection
made by early entrants like Mindoro Resources, TVI Pacific and Oxiana have
paid off. These and others have done world-class work and are now being
importantly, it is Filipinos receiving the lion-share of the benefits in
jobs, roads, schools and clinics. The relentless progress at improving the
investment environment in the past few years has been significant.
justifiably proud at the recent attention their country has received by many
of the world’s greatest mining companies. Xstrata, Anglo American, BHP
Billiton and others are now actively involved and say they have plans for
about permitting irregularities, political volatility and mine-site violence
are giving way to concerns more characteristic of a normalized market like
labour supply and equipment availability. The Philippines may be far from
being a truly normalized environment but improvement and optimism continues
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