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Visayan lawmaker wants moratorium on ore exports to China

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A lawmaker from the Visayas has called for a moratorium on the exportation of metallic mineral ores to China in the wake of the continuing situation between Beijing and the Philippines in the disputed Panatag Shoal in West Philippine Sea.

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento also raised the need to review the country’s trade agreements with China especially on ore exports as he expressed concern over China’s bullying tactics employed in the on-going conflict over the Spratlys Group of Islands.

Sarmiento noted that the country's metallic mineral exports to China is partly responsible for the said country's rapid military expansion and modernization as he noted that it would not take very long before its military technology can already match that of the United States which has vowed to help the Philippines in the event of an all-out war. 

"Exporting metallic minerals to China is like giving them the gun and the bullet to kill us and grab our land. I really think that we should re-think our trade policies especially with our metallic mineral exports," the Western Samar solon said as he noted that the Philippines is the fifth most mineralized country in the world, with established reserves of 15 known metallic and 29 nonmetallic minerals and an untapped mineral wealth. 

Sitting on a belt of volcanoes called the Circum-Pacific Rim of Fire, the Philippines is known to be abundant with important metallic mineral deposits of gold, copper, iron, chromite, nickel, cobalt and platinum as a result of the process of volcanism and plate convergence. 

"We should conduct a detailed inventory of our metallic mineral exports and shift our export to countries which are not in conflict with us. I don't think we would have any problem selling our metallic minerals elsewhere," Sarmiento said, but stressed the moratorium should only cover minerals that are used as raw materials for the production and manufacture of various military hardware such as aircrafts, seacrafts, artilleries, tanks and even firearms and ammunition.

President Benigno S. Aquino III earlier ordered the withdrawal of Philippine vessels from the Panatag Shoal at the height of Typhoon "Buchoy" which hit the area, a move China reportedly hailed as one step to lessen tension between the two countries.


"After the withdrawal, China is all smiles but its vessels remain in the area. If there were really negotiations, a simultaneous mutual withdrawal should have been effected by both sides," Sarmiento lamented. 

"Considering the situation, isn’t it proper for the country to review its relations with a bullying giant? At least, the government should impose a moratorium on the export of metallic or mineral ores to China," he said.

by: PNA




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