When the Philippines’ wealthiest and most powerful people came together to talk about mining – social media personalities notwithstanding – there was a voice lost in all the digging and the raking. As The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editorial rightfully pointed out, it’s the “ranks of farmers, fishermen and tribal minorities, the marginal and destitute folk who have lived for generations in those remote, undeveloped areas where mining often occurs and that inevitably have to bear the brunt of its aftereffects.”
This is a story often repeated in the realm of good intentions. Whether it’s about mining or fishing or hunting or kaingin, the struggles of advocacy are never as simple as a battle between good and evil. Rather, it’s a battle of discourses and viewpoints that, apparently, can be rendered “fair and balanced” by presenting two extreme positions. Positions that, in a way, betray bias, privilege, upbringing, proximity, relevance, and among other things, intention.
The forum, I think, should have been an invitation to a more important question at hand:
Who should answer the question, “Why mining?”