PRESIDENTIAL wannabe Rodrigo Duterte’s main road to industrialization is the revival of the steel industry. He’s the only candidate for president who has made this perceptive proposal to create more jobs and if just for this, and if people could play deaf to his cursing and ignore his disregard for human rights and support for the New People’s Army, then he deserves support.
There was once the Iligan Integrated Steel Mill hatched during the time of the late President Marcos and managed by the Jacinto family. The National Development Corporation took over the project when the Jacintos failed to pay their loan, and gave the management to Rolando Salac Narciso of Butuan City, a Master of Business Management graduate.
After Marcos, the steel industry went into limbo. The plans of Rolly Narciso for the steel industry got disrupted by EDSA 1 when the late President Cory Aquino changed the management and sought to privatize it again. The dismal state of the industry was stressed in the Eighth Congress by then Rep. Oscar Santos of Quezon in a privileged speech. He emphasized the deplorable indifference of the administration to reviving the steel industry by bringing along to the session hall a hammer and a screw driver.
Ka Oca lamented that these basic tools of carpentry were all imported because the Philippines has no integrated steel mill. He said that dreams of producing a Philippine car by the Aquino administration would go for naught if the country could not even produce a car door.
Ka Oca’s well-publicized laments took place more than 25 years ago but nothing has been done through all those years. Oh yes, as mentioned by this corner’s reader who goes by the name “Leipzig,” a steel company from India bought the National Steel Corporation/Philippine Steel Corporation under the privatization program of the government.
“Leipzig” said it turned out that the investors from India bought the NSC or PSC not to revive it but to stifle competition to the emerging steel industry of India. Ouch!
Rolly Narciso said that the Department of Trade and Industry under the incumbent administration has included it among the 30 sectoral roadmaps it has developed in the last three years. He added, however, that significant action on these roadmaps may have to await the arrival of the next president.
The rivals of Duterte should take a leaf from his vision of industrialized Philippines so that whoever wins in May 2016, the revival of the steel industry is assured.
Mar’s secret weapon
I had a talk with many beneficiaries of the 4Ps under the Department of Social Welfare and Development and they are all convinced that their monthly honoraria will be stopped if BS Aquino’s clone, Mar Roxas, loses this May. If all beneficiaries are so equally brainwashed, then expect millions more to vote for Roxas.
Before the 2013 elections, the grant of honoraria was suspended for at least six months to pave the way for their direct deposit to the banks of the beneficiaries to be withdrawn through ATM cards. I didn’t know that that simple change of mode of payment would take that long. However, it’s not the length of time that the beneficiaries had to wait that’s questionable. When the 4Ps payments resumed, lo, the beneficiaries didn’t get even a single centavo from the several months that they were suspended.
In other countries, the beneficiaries should have raised a howl for being shortchanged. Not in the Philippines. In fact, the beneficiaries were even happy that they were receiving their monthly honoraria again.
Now, the DSWD is increasing the number of beneficiaries of its dole-out program. This gives more potential voters for Roxas. And if these fails? Well, maybe we could ask if the PCOS machines are in fallback position.
BS Aquino still alive!
President BS Aquino The Last is merely using his father’s supposed teachings in vain. He not only reneged on his promise in 2013 to extend the LRT line to Bacoor by the end of 2015 but also failed to improve the LRT/MRT services. The “improvement” that we see are merely cosmetic and don’t add to better service.
Senior citizens like me, along with persons with disability, are inconvenienced by the utter disrepair of many escalators in LRT/MRT stations. I also don’t understand why all of a sudden, senior citizens’ ID cards are no longer honored upon presentation. Seniors have to apply for fare discount, and wait for at least 15 days for approval.
Oh yes, service at the Land Transportation Office is even worse. A relative had to wait for 14 months before getting his driver’s ID card. And why is the LTO still collecting fees for new car plates when this was stopped months ago?