The poorest provinces in the Philippines have no mines — that’s why they’re poor.
This seems to be the premise and conclusion that the Inquirer would like its readers to believe in an article it published recently.
Poverty typically is measured by the purchasing power or per capita expenditures made by a household.
I am no economist but common sense tells me that multiple factors determine the economic status of an individual, family or even an entire province.
Certain types of jobs generate different levels of income, and many jobs are dependent on educational attainment or demonstrated experience.
Jobs may be fewer in rural than in urban areas, which is exactly why people migrate to the big cities in search of decent income.
A look at the top poorest provinces would show that they are mostly located in Southern Philippines which for many decades have not received their fair share of major socio-economic development programs emanating from the central government. Consequently, private investments have been concentrated in more developed areas like Luzon where infrastructure, resources and incentives are most favorable to private entrepreneurs.
Different provinces have different income-generating industries based on many factors including history and geography. The fishing industry, for example, is a primary enterprise in areas with direct or easy access to waters in the country. Climate conditions may also dictate the kind of productivity an area and its population can undertake.
And let’s not discount the fact that economic progress didn’t just happen overnight in some provinces. It was the result of local leadership which had the vision and resolve to implement long-range socio-economic policies and programs.
So, dear Inquirer, let’s not try to sensationalize the issue of poverty by putting blame on the lack of mines in the poor provinces. For sure, many of the richer provinces don’t have them either.
(I know, I know. You just wanted to make a point to disprove DENR Secretary Gina Lopez’s claim that the poorest areas in the country are mining areas.)
And speaking of the mining industry, how about an in-depth, investigative piece on how much of the mining revenue actually benefits local residents or are spent to help develop the provinces in which the mines operate? That would be an interesting read in the Inquirer, a read your followers most certainly deserve.