BAGUIO CITY – An executive of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) on Friday said the mining industry is now safer due to additional policies to improve the sector.
“The industry is very safe. It is the most highly regulated industry in terms of safety, health, community development and environment,” Marcial Mateo, chief of MGB’s Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division, told the media on the sidelines of the ongoing 69th Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) conference here.
He said the MGB does regular monitoring among players to ensure that companies are complying with the rules.
“We have a monitoring every quarter to see that the mining companies’ annual safety and health program is implemented and that a budget is allotted to ensure it is being implemented. The budget in place is an essential component of the health and safety program because it is impossible to be implemented without funds,” he said.
Mateo said personal protective equipment like hard hats and safety shoes, which some workers opt not to use, is part of preventive measures in mining sites.
“Companies are careful about having accidents because it is a cause of interruption and will lead to no production,” he said.
Louie Sarmiento, PMSEA president, said in a separate interview that the mining industry has about 220,000 direct employees in large-scale mining companies.
The number excludes the contractors and those working downstream.
Being a huge labor-creating activity, those in the industry endeavor to make safety, health, environment, and community development on top of the list in their operations, he said.
Sarmiento said the government’s strict policies and its implementation make the industry better.
“If we make safety a priority, our job will be easy and we become more productive because there are no disruptions,” he added. (PNA)