Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers has welcomed the warming up of the country’s top finance executive to the idea of using the mining industry as a way to prop up the economy.
“I am elated to know that no less than Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has finally adopted a positive outlook towards our mining industry,” Barbers said in a statement Monday.
“Having come from Surigao del Norte, the mining capital of the country, I know the potential that this industry can bring to our economy. It is the only industry that does not need to incur loans that the people will eventually shoulder. It is the only industry that can put our economy back on its feet,” he noted.
Last week at the 46th Philippine Business Conference and Expo, Department of Finance (DOF) chief Dominguez bared plans of reviving the local mining sector as a way to create employment in the countryside.
This, after the COVID pandemic-induced lockdowns ravaged the Philippine economy, resulting to the first recession in 29 years.
“Secretary Dominguez’ insight is timely as the industry will not only raise much needed revenues nut provide jobs to people. This activity will multiply ten-fold and will surely revitalize and jump start the economy,” Barbers said.
The Nacionalista Party (NP) stalwart stressed the importance of immediately seizing the opportunity presented by mining.
“Today, the price of gold is at its highest at around USD2,000 per ounce. We have plenty of gold, estimated at 16 to 18 million ounces. In the coming years, it is projected that 50 percent of car sales will be on electric cars. These cars need a lot of copper and nickel to run. We have all these minerals here, more than two billion tons of copper. Imagine the returns if we are to start now,” he explained.
The Mindanao solon has previously said that mining could potentially contribute 6 to 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product or GDP. Currently, its contribution is a mere 0.6 percent.
In countries like Australia and Canada where mining contributes 6 percent or higher, the economy is prosperous and people are gainfully employed, Barbers said.
“This is the much needed stimulus that is not based on loans. We have these God-given resources now, there is no reason for our people to go hungry or for the economy to fail,” he further said.