BAGUIO CITY – The sustained operation of large-scale mining companies and small-scale mining activities in the different parts of Benguet for over a century now significantly contributed to the economic growth of the city through the years, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said here recently.
The local chief executive claimed Baguio has become the educational center north of Manila and the trade and business center where siblings and children of miners study, where miners established their permanent residences, and where people from the mines spend their money earned from the mines.
“Baguio has been the recipient of the investments of workers from the different large-scale and small-scale mining operations in Benguet as being a highly urbanised city, majority of the economic activities take place there. Since 1909, and during the glory days of the mining companies, Baguio had been the convergence of the siblings of workers and the workers from the mines,” Domogan stressed.
He pointed out during the simultaneous operations of the Balatoc mines, Antamok mines, Baguio Gold and Itogon Suyoc Mines Inc. (ISMI) in Itogon, the Philex Mines in Tuba and the Lepanto mines in Mankayan, Baguio became the common destination of the mine workers where they spent their money for their needs and recreation.
According to him, top calibre higher education institutions in the city also allowed the thousands of students who are the siblings and children of mine workers, to opt to study in the city because of its proximity to their parents work place so they could easily go back home to help their parents during weekends or when there are no classes.
Domogan admitted the mining industry continues to be a major economic driver of the city even though its contributions have decreased because of the closure and the downgrading of the operations of some companies, but huge portions of the earnings of mine workers are still being infused to the local economy.
He disclosed the biggest gold-producing company in the country was Benguet Corporation while the biggest copper-producing company in the Far East was Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC), during their golden years of operation.
The City Mayor claimed corporate mining is not totally destructive as being projected by some groups as it helped thousands of families. not only from the Cordillera but from the different parts of Northern Luzon, out of poverty and that hundreds of thousands of children of mine workers were also able to become professionals because of their parents earning as employees of the mining companies over a century now.
Domogan said, as one of those who grew up in a mining community, he witnessed his colleagues who also came from poor families strive hard to acquire higher levels of education that helped their families provide for their needs among others.
By Dexter A. See