Essay winners from Universities of the Philippines and St Louis
L-R: Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso, The second category First Prize Winner, Ken Ric Licang,(UP Baguio) and the Philippine Department of Tourism-Cordillera Director Pura Molintas.
Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso awarded prizes to University of the Philippines (UP) and University of St Louis (SLU) students at a ceremony held in Hill Station in Baguio City on 8 February 2013. This competition was launched during the visit of South African Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Hon. Godfrey Oliphant as a means of further enhancing the South-South Cooperation between the two countries.
The DIWATA (Philippine Women in Mining) pioneered by Philippine’s Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Domingo-Albert and the Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Mines also participated in the Deputy Minister’s dialogue with the students. Taking the current discussion on mining and safety to a higher level and empowering the youth with knowledge on the pros and cons of mining. Deputy Minister Oliphant summarized humorously the mining issues as ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of mining.
After a highly informative session by the Deputy Minister (DM), Ambassador Domingo-Albert and Chairman Disini, it was time for the students to put their thoughts on paper. The competition was divided into two categories, namely category I dealing with “The South African Experience: Insights for Baguio and the Cordilleras’ and the second category on “Mining as a means for Development”. The quality of the response showed that the students listened and came up with different views on mining. Possibly responding to anti-mining proponents, the Winner of the second essay category, Ken Ric, had this to say about mining:
“Everything is a double-edged sword. You don’t stop something because it has negative effects – because technically, everything has its negative effects. The thing is we have to weigh the costs with the benefits. Millions of people are employed and specialized in the mining industry, without mining, where would they go? Lots and lots of resources are produced through mining, without mining, where do we get these resources from? Without mining what would be of our technology? Communication? Transportation? Economy? What would a world be without mining?”
The Deputy Minister’s speech provoked the thoughts of many students and changed the views of many on the subject. Media, which covered the awarding ceremony, referred to the DM speeches he made during his visit to Baguio City last year. Thanks to him, student debates on mining will never be the same again.
SA Embassy Manila, Philippines