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Philex Mine in Benguet: To Re-open or Not?

Even before Philex Mining Corporation completely settles its P1B fine for last year’s waste spill, its stakeholders already want the Padcal mine to open again for their needs.

Philex, a name that has been bringing food to thousands of families across Cordillera, was closed after a controversial tailings leak in August last year.

In a letter handed to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, workers expressed the importance of re-opening the Padcal mine. The signatories stated that mining is their main source of livelihood.

What is LIVELIHOOD? It’s the reason why these people are still alive on earth. They are able to enjoy good meals in the morning, noon and evening because of it. They send their kids to good universities because they have this livelihood. Thanks to their source of living.

This is a turning point. We cannot do something when the reason for the mine re-opening is food. We cannot tell these workers to just forget it and start planting potatoes in their backyards. We cannot ask mining engineers to look for other companies that can pay them better than what is Philex giving them.

I am not directly benefitting from Philex. But tens of people around me (some of them are my cousins) are enjoying great stuffs from the mining company. This is despite extremists throwing boring and repetitive accusations to the mining industry.

Philex, for the record, gives the complete package to its miner workers. Housing, educational, emotional, financial, cultural, and other benefits- list them all- workers have got nothing to complain about.

Take away mining in the Cordilleras and you will see the better picture. A friend of mine, who is a member of an activist family, has it: Baguio is nothing without mining.

I remember watching a conference wherein Manny Pangilinan, who owns stocks at Philex, shared a heated argument with influential environmentalist Gina Lopez.

Some people are just pathetic that they cannot realize that mining has provided them the materials in making their earrings and the electronic devices that turned them into prominent people.

Some are advocating responsible mining. Philippine laws have a list of requirements that businessmen, whether good or bad, needs to provide before opening a mining site. These policies give a glimpse of the ongoing obligation of these companies who destroy our environment in return of something as valuable as what they are ruining.

Should Philex open its Padcal mine again? Ask the people who are affected. Not the people from the neighborhood. Or get a word from American politician Sarah Palin who prefers hunting in the wilderness that gets environmental consequences than dying of hunger then have the world’s environment preserved.

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.


  1. I am a product of Philex Mines and it hurts to know that people are more interested with the 1B fine than providing work for the workers and their families. Should they intend to close the mining business, they should also provide means of living to those affected.

  2. that's the point.........we are dealing with LIFE here


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