I decided to tackle the Sagittarius Mines Tampakan Project issue here hoping to foster further discussion with peers in the blogosphere as my perspective is limited and therefore needing more insight. At the same time, this has not reached primetime news to allow greater discussion.
It is sad when you see elected government officials passing ordinances (South Cotabato Provincial Environmental Code) without giving any respect to existing laws (Philippine Mining Act of 1995) and to businesses that are in operation contributing to its local economy. Furthermore when they succumb to pressure of the Catholic church (in this case the diocese of Marbel) whose stand on numerous issues can be attributed as one of the causes of poverty that we have in the Philippines.
Called some bloggers from nearby areas and familiar with the political territory. From what I was told, the people are for it (including tribal councils) - believing companies like SMI and later on San Miguel Corporation (through its acquisition of Sultan Mining) will do its part to ensure the environment will remain sustainable as causing neglect will affect their reputation and projects globally. All this with the government and citizens being vigilant as well.
Their economic contribution can't be just disregarded. In 2008, SMI put in 1.2 billion in the local economy (read the Tampakan Project Sustainability Report for 2009 on additional activities done).
However the Catholic Church is its main opposition. A lot of politicians give in to the church and communities sowed with fears on what could happen with their relocation.
This issue has to be resolved according to the merits of the law. The Catholic Church, I also hope will respect the law and have some sense of humanity by giving regard to the businesses that invested in the community and livelihood of the people in the areas they are in.