QUEZON CITY, April 19 (PIA)--The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday (April 19) hosted a biodiversity and mining forum with focus on the issues of sustainability, social justice and equity on the extraction and use of natural resources for economic needs.
The event dubbed as "Forum on Biodiversity and Mining: The Way Forward" brought together around 250 participants from various offices and units of the DENR, including field offices, and representatives of non-government organizations.
DENR Secretary Gina Lopez welcomed the participants and guests, and gave the opening message.
Lopez, a long-time environment advocate, has made it clear that she is for biodiversity conservation and her commitment is to protect natural habitats and wild flora and fauna across the country.
The environment chief also clarified that she is not against mining but to the suffering of people in mining communities.
She said irresponsible mining does not bring social justice, which is the heart and soul of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Resource speakers include William Holden, an associate professor of geography at the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada. He will discuss the topic of mining and natural hazard vulnerability in the Philippines.
Other resource speakers and topics at the forum are Dr. Edwino Fernando of UP Los Baños Department of Forest and Biological Sciences (phytomining and terrestrial ecosystem) and Dr. Rex Victor Cruz of UPLB Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (watershed ecosystem);
Environmental lawyer Antonio A. Oposa, Jr. will give a video message on environmental law in the Philippines.
The mining sector is currently faced with the situation where there is a growing awareness on the importance of preserving the country's rich biodiversity.
Many have raised concerns on whether mining and biodiversity conservation can co-exist and if mining should be stopped to preserve the natural resources.
The forum conforms with Section 38 of the 2017 General Appropriations Act, which mandates all government agencies, and local government units to "ensure that protection of biological diversity is integrated and mainstreamed into their development programs and projects.” (DENR/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)