DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority now pushes for national industrialization to maximize the country’s own natural resources instead of exporting it to other countries.
PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority Administrator Franklin Quijano, in a press conference on Monday, stressed the need of the government to establish the country’s own industries to process and develop the rich natural resources of the country instead of boosting the economy through export.
Quijano clarified that their proposal of national industrialization does is not limited to local businesses and that the government can open its door for business to foreign investors that are currently or still planning to put up investments in the country.
He explained that the majority of the export products were mineral ores thus needed to establish again a processing plant for steel. He said the steel industry can be a backbone of the Philippine industry to develop other potential industries in the future.
“When that happens, we do not need exporting anymore, we only need to bring the iron ore materials, the coal from our coal mining, areas and limestone put together and you will have steel,” Quijano said.
The government once operated the industry in Iligan City through the National Steel Corp. (NSC) until 2004. NSC was once one of the largest steel mills in Asia until it failed to modernize and became bankrupt, was privatized thrice, and mothballed again in 2009.
During the time, the steel industry provided job opportunities to residents of Iligan City and other adjacent areas thus preventing a labor force exodus to other countries.
PHIVIDEC’s idea of national industrialization not just pushes the government to establish its own industries to add value to the mineral ores for production. Their proposal also includes allowing foreign investors to put up their own processing plant in the country instead of just extracting the mineral resources for export.
Quijano said the proposal is an advantage for foreign companies to cut down the length of travel time and experience while they can also immediately process the ores for their products.
“This is also a win-win solution for them with the convenience that these industries can offer,” he said.
Quijano is optimistic that within the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the government can encourage foreign investors to pour in their capital.
However, workers’ group Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao rejected PHIVIDEC’s proposal saying that “the government should have full control over the national industries to ensure that it serves the national interests”.
Carlo Olalo, secretary-general of KMU-SMR said that PHIVIDEC’s proposal contradicts the idea of what a nationalized industry should be. They argued that instead of opening the country to more investments, “the government should develop the agriculture sector in aid of national industrialization” as the backbone of the Philippine economy.
“Allowing the foreign investors to control the country’s industry or allowing them to put up their own industry is like we are giving up our natural resources easily. This means they fully control everything while us Filipinos just wait and see how they bastardize our country,” Olalo said. (davaotoday.com)