SANTIAGO CITY—A university-based study reveals that mining has decreased poverty incidence in the area where it operates and has increased household income, contrary to the claim of groups supporting Environment Secretary Regina Lopez.
The findings of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños found that mining actually increases household incomes as shown by Barangay Didipio in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, which hosts the operations of OceanaGold Philippines Inc.
In general, monthly household income in the Didipio village increased approximately 31 percent from 2013-2015 from about P7,764 to P10,555, according to the UPLB study.
The mean monthly household income in 2013 increased by 39 percent from P13,200 to about P19,381 a month as a result of the increase in wage earners in the said village which is almost comparable with the 2015 regional and national average family income of P19,750 and P22,250, respectively.
Also, the UPLB study shows that the mean monthly household income of the village residents of P19,381 has doubled the 2012 poverty threshold in Quirino province of P9,709 per month and Nueva Vizcaya of P9,283 per month.
Chito Gozar, senior vice president for communications and external affairs, said more numbers can disprove the belief that mining causes poverty incidence.
He said the contention of environmental groups is not true because precisely mining’s end is creation of wealth that would eliminate poverty.
Citing Philippine Statistics Authority study, Gozar said the same observation reveals something that provinces with no mining strangely have higher poverty incidence than those areas with mining.
Gozar said PSA’s survey for 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015 shows that the province of Nueva Vizcaya, where two government mining projects operate in the villages of Didipio and Runruno in Quezon town, ranks 64th among the 85 provinces studied.
PSA shows that Nueva Vizcaya is way down its list of provinces showing poverty incidence the top 10 of which are Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Sarangani, Bukidnon, Siquijor, Northen Samar, Maguidanao, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
The UPLB study pointed out that the major change in the economy of Didipio village was due to the presence of OceanaGold in the village.
Peviously, Didipio is an agricultural settlement and that farming was the primary source of household income.