By Ben Serrano,
SURIGAO City – Rep. Jose Francisco “Bingo”” F. Matugas, II of the 1st District, Surigao del Norte (PDP-Laban) re-filed what his father filed before 15th Congress in 2013 otherwise known as House Bill No. 5058 in promoting the development of mineral processing and in the process banning the export of iron, nickel, chromite, manganese and other strategic metallic ores.
Former Surigao del Norte Governor Atty. Francisco T. Matugas later became Congressman filed House Bill No, 5058 in 2013 but did not reach the Senate as it was only passed until second reading.
Matugas was the former Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources at the time he filed the bill.
This time, his son, Rep. Jose Francisco “Bingo” Matugas, II wanted even a total ban of mineral ores to other countries and wanted the use of the country’s mineral resources to promote industrialization of the country.
The young Surigaonon solon made some addition to his father’s House Bill by re-filing at the 17th Congress his version now known as House Bill No. 3229 otherwise known as “An Act Promoting Total Development of Minerals Processing in the Country and Banning the Export of Raw or
Unprocessed Mineral Ores”.
Last February 25 during local celebration of People Power, militant groups like KMU, Gabriela, Piston, Kadamay and lumad group Kasalo of Caraga Region marched city streets of Butuan and called for using the country’s rich mineral resources for national industrialization.
Under House Bill No. 3229, Rep. Matugas pointed out that the insignificant contribution of mining industry in the country’s economy was a failure to maximize the benefits or value added from mining due to lack of definite program to develop downstream mining industry.
“This is despite the Philippines ranks fifth as most mineral rich country in the World for gold, nickel, copper, chromite and accounted for 17% of World’s production of mined nickel and 3% of mined cobalt,” Matugas said.
Matugas added that even Speaker Alvarez, during his acceptance speech considered the export ban of the country’s mineral ores and development of mineral ore modern processing plants as a matter of priority in the current congress.
Many Surigaonons especially residents in mining areas of Surigao del Norte like Claver town known as the mining capital of Surigao del Norte hosting big mining companies like Taganito Mining Corporation, Platinum Group Metal Corporation, Adnama Mining Corporation and hosting the Taganito High Pressure Acid Leach Plant, the biggest in the country if not in Asia are in favor of the young solon’s house bill.
“Sending raw mine materials abroad has less value than having them processed here. Aside from generating more employment, local tax collection will also increased as economic activity” Claver, Surigao del Norte Mayor Eddie P. Gokiangkee said.