Arreza's presentation to businessmen attending various meetings for the East Asean Growth Area two weeks ago showed potential areas for mining, legal framework and other information for investment promotions but was silent on the issues brought up by those opposing mining.
Arreza earlier told MindaNews they didn't want to mention it as it might scare off the investors. But he told MindaNews Monday that the "silence" was his own lapse.
He said they never had any intention to hide the truth from the investors. "They would eventually find out about the issues," he said.
He also denied it was a government policy to set aside the issues brought up by the Lumads (indigenous communities) on their problems with alleged violations of mining firms.
"There was never that intention. I missed to mention it because it never came into my mind," Arreza said. He said mentioning the challenges along with incentives would give investors a full picture. Arreza said investors during business meetings at the recently concluded BIMP East ASEAN Growth Area Investment Conference and the Davao Trade Expo cited the problem of slow processing of mining permits. "Officially they don't complain, but we do hear complaints," he said.
Arreza said the problem is primarily in the processing of the free and prior informed consent (FPIC), a requisite to the mining permit acquired through consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned as facilitated by the National Commission on Indigenous People. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)