By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
JOSE Panganiban Mayor Ricarte Padilla is pushing his municipality to be declared a mineral reservation area to benefit from its gold and iron resources through the royalty system.
Padilla said if the LGU is given the authority to manage its own iron and gold deposits, it could lead to the creation of an integrated steel industry situated at the 30-hectare economic zone at Baranggay Larap.
The mayor pitched the idea in a recent letter to Executive Secretary Paquito N Ochoa Jr, informing him that Jose Panganiban hosts huge deposits of gold and iron.
“Our municipality was once the host of the Philippine Iron Mines (PIM), once known as the largest iron ore producer in the country.
“Our iron ore deposits are measured in millions of metric tons and we are considering on capitalizing on this fact by soon establishing an integrated steel manufacturing plant at our special economic zone at Baranggay Larap.
Padilla said that the municipality had been the host of the now-defunct Benguet Gold Mining Company.
Likewise, “we continue to host various large and small-scale gold mining entities, a manifestation of the richness of our gold deposits”.
only Filipino-owned gold miner, the Johson Gold Mining Corporation, operates in
Jose Panganiban’s gold district at Baranggay Bagong-Bayan outside the town.
Padilla told Ochoa that “we are solidly for the establishment of a mineral reservation as we foresee added local revenues through our share of royalties”.
“We just hope that our municipality is included in the creation of a mineral reservation, and be invited in the consultation on the determination of the rate of royalties.”
Padilla said that his government has appealed to President Noynoy Aquino for the declaration of Jose Panganiban as a mineral reservation.
He said that a similar appeal was brought to the attention of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and the Lower House through Congressman Renato J. Unico, Jr.
Padilla said that in the same appeal, “we brought up the idea that the LGU be given the authority to our vast iron and gold resources, leading to the establishment of an integrated steel industry in Larap”.