Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso has vowed to fully support the revival of steel manufacturing plants in the country, including the National Steel Corporation (NSC).
Domagoso said this will create more jobs as well as business opportunities which is expected to speed up human and economic growth in the country.
“As I have said, we need to create more jobs, jobs, jobs. At least 4.2 million Filipinos lost their jobs for the past two years, and creating an industry like steel manufacturing or producing steel is a good venture for our country,” Domagoso said during his campaign sortie in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte on Wednesday evening.
The NSC, which was once acclaimed to be the largest steel mill in Asia, was shut down for more than a decade due to financial issues.
The government initiated the establishment of the Iligan Steel Mill in 1952 as implemented by the National Shipyards and Steel Corporation (NASSCO).
The company was sold in 1963 to Iligan Integrated Steel Mills, Inc. of the Jacinto family.
Upon the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, the Marcos government confiscated the steel facilities. In 1974, the assets were acquired by the newly incorporated National Steel Corporation.
During the Ramos administration in 1995, the NSC was acquired by Wing Tiek of the Malaysian Westmont Group. However, this was severely affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
In 2000, the Estrada government ordered NSC’s liquidation, and during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in 2004, the facility was acquired by Ispat Industries Ltd. of India but was then again forced to close in 2009 due to financial and labor issues.
The properties associated with the steel mill were forfeited in favor of the Iligan city government and in 2016, the local government unit (LGU) attempted to auction off the 400-hectare steel mill but there were no interested bidders.
Aside from reviving the NSC and supporting existing steel manufacturers, Domagoso added that he will also push for the local processing of mineral ores, which are abundant in the country.
Domagoso specified that the country is rich in black sand and nickel ore which will further help boost the country’s iron and steel industry.
He said it is ironic that the country imports products from the same countries where we export our mineral ores.
An example is China which has been mining black sand from various parts of the country, bringing them to their country to process the raw form of the substance, then importing the finished products back to Manila.
Because of the high demand for stainless steel in China, Chinese stainless steel producers are also the largest buyer of Philippine nickel ore.
China is also the country’s top source of imported steel.
“So, instead na yung nickel natin, o yung iba pang minerals na ginagamit para makapag-produce nito ay pinadadala natin sa ibang bansa, bakit hindi na lamang natin hikayatin itong mga nag-mimina, na dito na. Pagka-mina, mag-create pa tayo ng isang industriya which is manufacturing (instead of exporting nickel or other mineral ores used to produce steel to other countries, why don’t we encourage our miners to do it here. We can create a manufacturing industry),” Domagoso said.
Source: Philippines News Agency