SURIGAO del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Monday expressed elation upon learning that the government’s policy makers
have finally reconsidered the government’s mining position as the economy continues to suffer as a result of the global pandemic.
In his earlier statements, Barbers invited the government to look at the looming scenario post-coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) where the economy will take a hard dive as the debts we incurred to address the COVID-19 problem will mount and payments will start to fall due and other sources of income are still suffering and have not fully recovered.
“I am elated to know that no less than Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has finally adopted a positive outlook towards our mining industry. 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,” said Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs.
“Today, the price of gold is at its highest at around US$ 2,000 per ounce. We have plenty of gold, estimated at 16 to 18 million ounces. In the coming years, it is projected that 50% of car sales will be on electric cars. This 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,” Barbers added.
The lawmaker previously stressed mining can contribute as much as 6-10 percent in our GDP. Currently, its contribution is 0.6%. In countries like Australia and Canada where mining contributes 6% or higher, the economy is prosperous and people are gainfully employed.
“Secretary Dominguez’ insight is timely as the industry will not only raise much needed revenues not provide jobs to people. This activity will multiply ten-fold and will surely revitalize and jumpstart the economy. 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,” Barbers said.