November 3, 2020
Written by John Carlo Tria
As predictions of an economic rebound are expected in 2021, continuing recovery will require vigilance and preparedness not only for the pandemic, but other disruptions like extreme weather events we have experienced over the last weeks that left much destruction in its wake.
The Mindanao Strategy – now, more than ever
Recent stock market highs and positive Q3 earnings of many company reports indicate just how vital the need to innovate has become in order to keep the bottom line strong during times of uncertainty.
As extreme weather events and other disruptions threaten business viability, one of these innovations is to cast a wider net in various parts of the country such as the Visayas and Mindanao. Having operations there balances off in case Luzon or Metro Manila operations encounter problems.
As any companies prepare for 2021, it is time to explore Mindanao’s industrial estates as I wrote in a previous column (https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/05/numbers-and-the-recovery-path/) and mixed use developments, as well as its consumer markets.
Taking a closer look at the minerals industry
Jumping off from my previous columns on manufacturing and how it can create industries and livelihoods for millions and harness its agricultural products and mineral resources, I choose to focus this time on the minerals industry.
This industry encompasses extracting minerals from the ground, and the processing of these into materials like iron ingots and rolls that are then bought by downstream industries like steel to make reinforcing bars, galvanized iron sheets, steel plates, copper coils. These then make materials and machines to make other things we need. In the case of limestone, into cement to build our homes.
Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau indicate that of the 30 million hectares of land in the Philippines, about 9 million have mineral potential for vital items such as copper, iron, nickel, limestone, and gold.
In all, the mining industry employs 190,000 workers and earning 4.3 Billion dollars in export revenue and contributing 15 billion pesos in taxes, apart from the amounts spent on required livelihood and social development programs. Many of these mineralized zones bear poor soil for agriculture, making mining a local health and livelihood creator.
As we all try our best to recover from the pandemic and natural disruptions we have recently seen, developing the minerals industry, along with creating the downstream industries that can make our everyday products, can indeed employ thousands.
Shipping VISMIN hogs to Luzon
Disruptions such as these create tensions and anxieties over food prices in many areas, especially those far from food producing provinces. Ensuring better food logistics was one of the key recommendations of this year’s Mindanao Business Conference. The Department of Agriculture’s moves to ship thousands of hogs from the Visayas and Mindanao to Luzon per week can help improve food logistics. (https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/29/da-to-bring-up-to-30000-hogs-from-vismin-to-luzon-every-week/)
As the days wear on, lets continue to help our economy by buying local goods and services. Stay safe everyone. Keep your masks and shields, when required, on at all times and follow distancing requirements. Kindly remind others to do so.
Photo by Ian Serrano
Article first appeared in the Manila Bulletin website last November 2, 2020.