Boosting growth through mining and textiles



Examining our nation’s growth figures, it is clear that there is much more potential for growth if more investments are poured into sectors that have great potential to contribute to the growth rate, which in the first quarter of 2024 clocked 5.7 percent. Going beyond this rate will require maximizing opportunities in areas such as manufacturing and industry. I am focusing on two areas in particular, which are mining and textiles.

Mining includes extracting mineral raw materials. These can be processed into metals or other products We must always remember that per Article 12 Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, all minerals belong to the state, being part of our natural wealth. The government through the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau often does the initial exploration of areas to evaluate where minerals can be found. The government's role is to make sure that the value of the minerals extracted is accurate, that the mining and extracting methods are safe and environment friendly, and that the benefits of these activities are enjoyed by the people at large and the host communities in particular, all by the law. Companies can then be invited to extract these minerals. This means that mining companies are contractors of the government in utilizing these resources.

That said, promoting responsible mining and mineral processing is a necessary measure to ensure growth, especially in the countryside where the minerals are located. Turning these into processed products expands this economic potential. Imagine how many more rural jobs can be generated if the minerals are locally manufactured into products we use such as steel bars, sheets, and other items.

Growth in textile manufacture will be needed to support the needs of local garment companies both within and outside our special economic zones that seek to expand operations to meet global demand for clothing items. Likely, other local companies supplying the Philippine market will also benefit from having locally available textiles. Many branded shirts that are sold abroad may actually have been made in the Philippines in our export processing and special economic zones. Having more of the raw materials manufactured locally will create more local jobs.

The value created by these industries can expand the economy since it will increase the availability of competitively priced, locally manufactured products coming from our industry sector.  Harnessing investments and establishing manufacturing facilities can be done in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner, alongside new ways of harnessing energy.

The enabling law and rules include the Omnibus Investments code and the recently passed green lanes regulations. To know more about which industries are prioritized by the national government for promotion, you can take a look at the Strategic Investments Priorities Plan (SIPP). Each region also has a development plan and investment plan developed and promoted by your regional development council (RDC). You can download these through the NEDA website of your region.

Moving forward, I believe that as citizens, we ought to look more deeply at the investment promotion priorities of our RDCs so that we are abreast of the kind of industries we need to establish in our areas. These investments will harness our local talents, add value to the things we mine and grow, and, as a result, generate wealth, opportunities, and options not only for us but for succeeding generations of our children and grandchildren especially if we want them to consider these options within the Philippines.