Duterte vs drugs, Gina Lopez vs the mines: Next up: Who will KILL the jeepneys?

Gina Lopez is one badass government official. Unlike most government officials, she is beholden to no one — not even her own parents who she left at 18 to do missionary work in the slums of Africa. This is presumably the reason Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte chose her to be his Environment Secretary. The Philippines, after all, is the product of decades of ravage-by-mining. Under Lopez’s watch, this has been stopped.

What is wrong with mining? It accounts for less than 3 percent of the Philippine economy. Yet it contributes an astounding cost to the environment and Filipinos who live off it. Mining, after all, is the poor man’s ticket to unsustainable wealth. Mineral riches did not lay a solid foundation for human development in the Third World’s top mineral producers. The Philippines, for its part, is one of the world’s top producers of the planet’s most precious minerals — gold, copper, and nickel amongst others. But for the toll mining has taken on its land, the Philippines has not much to show beyond the vast physical scars this industry has left.

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Mining (in conjunction with direct export of its output) is a lazy industry. It is the macro equivalent of prostitution — putting your physical assets directly on the market rather than employing said physical assets to do actual work. Nickel, for example, is exported as raw ore to China where it is used in the manufacture of steel which is then sold back to the Philippines. The same can be said of other extraction industies, like logging and OFW export. They are raw product exports that degrade the Philippines’ physical and social fabric.

Jeepneys: That other menace to Philippine society that needs to be dealt with decisively.

Mining and other extraction industries therefore do not contribute to the expansion of the Philippines’ capital base. Indeed, it actually subtracts from it — by degrading the nation’s environment and society.

The argument that Lopez’s non-negotiable closure of mines in the Philippines will cause Filipinos to lose jobs is a myopic and shortsighted argument. This, in fact, is the same moronic argument that keeps the Philippines’ infamously inefficient and filthy jeepneys on the road (and their toxic exhaust in the air).

The jeepney problem, like drugs and mining is the Philippines’ other obvious socio-economic cancer.

In light of this, it can be said that Lopez is the perfect analogue to Duterte. Duterte’s War on Drugs, flawed as it may come across to some, is the work of a long overdue kick-ass bad cop. Lopez is the badass equivalent to an industry long grown fat, complacent, and cocky whilst sitting squat over the fortunes of ordinary Filipinos and the land they work. Indeed, the only missing piece in the Get-Shit-Done squad is one more leader who will do to the jeepney industry what Duterte and Lopez are doing to the Philippines’ drugs and mining menace.

17 Replies to “Duterte vs drugs, Gina Lopez vs the mines: Next up: Who will KILL the jeepneys?”

  1. Absolutely spot-on, Benign0. Environmental destruction is probably one of the top three reasons why the Philippines (and a lot of other third world countries, for that matter) is poor. Raping the planet that sustains you is guaranteed to produce horrific results. Nature has a way of pushing back: the forces at her disposal are immense, orders of magnitude larger than anything man can deploy. And she WILL push back.

    What makes me sick is that the “God-fearing” Filipino is quite happy to rip up and piss on God’s gifts to humanity.

    Closing down mines is probably one of the most profitable things the Duterte administration is doing, and I’ll support him for that if for no other reason. Likewise with the road pollution you mentioned. WHY does the Philippines continue to use inefficient, smoke-belching engines, and fail to enforce driving standards? There is absolutely no sensible reason for doing so. This is low-hanging fruit that’s all but dropping into Juan Tamad’s waiting mouth. It’s dead easy to fix and the payback will be immense.

    1. Thanks. It’s the curse of the natural resources-rich. One can easily note how it is the resource-poor countries, at least in our region, that are amongst the wealthiest — Singapore, Korea, and Japan

  2. We are wealthy in natural resources…but not wealthy with human resources with innovative and resourceful minds / attitudes. We are satisfied with our stagnant lives !

    We mine the ores and process them into ore concentrates. We sell these ore concentrates, at bargain prices to China, Japan, Korea, and other industrialized countries. We don’t have any Steel Industry, that is the primary step to industrialization. We do not know, how to process these ore concentrates; and make them into finished products.

    Cooper wires for cooper. Nickel plates and nickel steel alloy (stainless steel) for nickel. Chromium iron alloy for chromium. And other finished products.

    The technology in processing these products into finished products is available, for almost a century. Why can’t we learn them ? Or, we refuse to learn and use them ?

    Our Technical and Scientific brains are continuing to be drained. They are migrating to foreign countries..

    Same as our logs…we sell half processed logs…the Chinese and other industrialized countries make them into finished products. They sell these finished products to us, at a hundred times the price, we sold them, as semi finished products…

    Jeepneys were the remnants of the World War II Army Jeeps; left by the American liberating forces in World War Ii. Filipinos turned them into mode of transportation…The outer body of those jeeps may be new. However those Engines running them, are already OBSOLETE, in comparison to new models of engines.

    We are already in the Age of Electronic Driven Motorized Engines. Autonomous, or Driverless motor verhicles are here already. And, we are still salvaging and using those World War II motorized engines.

    Filipinos have the mindsets of “pwede na yan”…they are satisfied with their lives, no matter how hard, it is…maybe , the “kapalaran mentality” is the stumbling block in the mindsets of all of us. I believe that Organized Religion is one of the stumbling blocks…

    In mostly industrialized countries…people are very resourceful and innovative….here , we play Politics all the rest of our lives. Get rich quick schemes ; are in the minds of most of us ! Just look at our leaders, and most of the Police.

    We have: Aquino, Mar Roxas, Porky Drilon, Leila de Lima, etc…as proof of our being corrupt to the core !

  3. Hyden,
    Maybe I am misreading your comment but I dont read anything about a plan how to phase-out all the jeepneys.
    Who allows them to drive on the roads? Probably either the national government or the LGU. So they (the LGU) are in ‘power’ to get rid of ALL jeepneys. Why dont they do that today?

  4. @Robert Haighton:

    Nobody has plans to phase out the jeepney. They can never rid of this form of transport.

    I, myself cannot think of any way to give the exploding population of Filipinos, any alternative mode of transport. Unrestrained population growth, mandated by the Roman Catholic Church; plus obsolete mode of transportation. We have now serious problems.

    We don’t have the technology; the industries; the technical people; etc…to solve these problems.

    I bet; it is the Filipino way: “we expect , the problems will solve itself…”

    Or send more OFWs to work overseas, to solve the population growth !

    1. Hyden,
      Are you saying your country doesnt ‘produce’ any smart engineers who can make a proto type of a new mode of transportation? Something between a mini van, taxi and bus/coach? Something that is comfortable (thinking about foreign tourists who are taller than the average Pinoy/Pinay).

  5. Robert, several powerful families have a financial stake in gasoline distribution. It’s to their advantage that Filipinos use as much gasoline as possible, ie., inefficient engines. Every so often someone comes out with a prototype that gets reported with fanfare in the press, and is then never heard of again. Usually some rumours are started, saying the new technology failed miserably, and Filipinos would be best off sticking with their tried-and-(t)rusted, zinc-plate-and-rebar “vehicles” (the word “vehicle” being used in its broadest possible interpretation).

    Anyway, the BOC blocks any useful technology from coming into the country, on the basis that it’s foreign garbage that Filipinos don’t need. Unless you have the right contacts and money to pay the bribes, it’s essentially impossible to import (say) advanced batteries or motors for electric vehicles.

    Even if by some miracle you managed to set up a corporation to produce advanced electric transport, and imported the parts, some halfwitted official would selectively interpret the transportation laws to ensure your vehicle could not be certified for road use. Why? Because it would hurt a lot of people, and hurting fellow Filipinos is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in this country.

    1. Marius,
      So to organize an EDSA #7 to protest against everything you stated is useless?
      And what does your beloved Duterte do against all this?

  6. The menace continues to endure only because, there are some heartless men who are taking advantage of the lives and bodies the gullible victims get trapped into.

    1. robert, what has our beloved duterte got to do “with all this?” it is his fault that the philippines is what it is now??? the guy, in his short time as president of the country, has done so much that no one else before him has, in the fullness of his/her term!

  7. One thing that came to mind about Filipinos selling off their resources to others for easy money the story of a relative in the provinces. Years ago, when my grandmother was still alive, she gave my relative a tricycle for his use. But instead of using it for transport or even for business, he tore it apart and sold the parts to others. That’s seems a perfect analogy as to how many Filipinos treat things provided to them for their use; instead, they’d rather sell the things off than work.

  8. ChinoF: I’ve heard that story multiple times. It seems to be a common ‘business’ strategy in the Philippines. Give a Filipino a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a Filipino to fish, and he’ll look at you blankly, sell the fishing rod, and carry on complaining about how poor he is.

    I agree this is symptomatic of a widespread misunderstanding about things like money, capital, and return on investment. If basic household finances were taught in school, it might break this cycle.

    Robert: not sure what you mean. I’m not interested in Duterte, but people like Gina Lopez interest me. I find it fascinating that (a) she hasn’t been assassinated and (b) that occasionally people like her – with integrity, intelligence, and drive – actually manage to rise to the top of the fetid scum that comprises the bulk of Philippine society and politics. She’s doing good stuff. She’s not just talking about shutting down mining, she’s actually making it happen.

      1. this man has probably several cell phones, made from gold, copper, and other metals, he probably uses electricity, drives a vehicle, watches tv, has a tablet, and eats food…all the roads he drives, the planes he rides and the pages he cries on about mines, all every bit of it, his home, lights windows, everything came from mining. Stop using these items and put mines out of business, you hypocrite

  9. Gina Lopez is just a bored oligarch, looking to take on a “Pet Project,” to justify her “silver spoon-fed” existence. Afterall, her family’s entire media dynasty was responsible for dumbing down the population, from reading literates to “starstruck” zombies, for their “telebasura” movies and television programs. It’s time to somewhat make up for more than 3 decades of societal transgressions with a little charitable work.

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