Two Surigao solons want export of mineral ores banned

First District Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Matugas and Second District Surigao del Sur Rep. Philip Pichay stand firm in banning exports of all mineral ores.

The lawmakers also urged mining firms to develop mineral processing plants in the area where they operate.

Speaking before the Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) and in the first Surigao del Norte Livelihood Summit on Thursday, Matugas, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said that the setting up of mineral processing plants, for instance in Surigao del Norte, would provide mass employment opportunities and add values on the extracted mineral ores from the province.

Matugas said Surigao del Norte is the mining capital of Caraga Region and the region is the mining capital not only in the Philippines but in Asia as well.

Pichay, for his part, said he supported the Surigao del Norte solon, saying there were lots of logic in the proposal than at present set up where mineral ores are being brought to other countries like China, process them then brought them back in the Philippines as finished products.

Pichay cited the once huge mountains of Suirgao del Sur where thousands if not millions of tons of mineral ores extracted are brought directly to other countries.

“Kung iipunin nyo po lahat ng lupa dinala sa ibang bansa ng mga mining companies siguro you can already make an island enough to become a city while mountains in Surigao del Sur are slowly becoming swimming pool” Pichay told PNA while about to leave the RDC meeting venue in an ambush interview..

The two Surigao provinces are known to be rich in mining resources

Matugas, in his speech before Livelihood Summit here, said that establishment of processing plants would generate employment and local government revenues.

He said that at present set up, where mining firms are only into extracting mineral ores from the province, local government units or towns hosting mining operations only get extraction fees and business taxes while the excise tax go to the national government coffers.

“Para lang tigahakot lupa ang mga yan tapos iiwanan na probinisya namin after let’s say 25 years . swimming pool na yung bundok,” Matugas said.

Matugas said the people who lived within the mining site mineral resources in any country were owned by the people who lived within the sites, thus they must be the ones to benefit from them.

Surigao del Norte has about 12 mining of the 37 mining companies now operating in Caraga Region. Dinagat Islands has 13 presently operating while Surigao del Sur has seven mining firms. (Ben Serrano/PNA)

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