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Business

Steel industry task force pushes for integration

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President Arroyo has issued Administrative Order No. 45 mandating the Office of Vice President Teofisto Guingona to oversee the development of the country’s steel industry with the establishment of an integrated steel plant in Mindanao.

The development of the country’s steel industry is anchored on the rehabilitation of the Iligan Steel Plant in Iligan City, according to Dr. Sixto K. Roxas who was named by Guingona as Coordinator of the Task Force for the steel industry development program formed to implement AO 45.

Roxas said the rehabilitation and integration of the Iligan Steel Plant is the cornerstone for the development of a globally competitive Philippine steel industry and the industrialization of Mindanao and the entire country, adding that the most urgent concern of the task force at the moment is to find a strategic investor who has the firm and sincere commitment to stay for the long term so that the Iligan Steel Plant is not only rehabilitated but also wholly integrated to serve both the downstream and upstream businesses that depend on steel and iron products as basic materials.

The Iligan Steel Plant was known in the early 60s as Iligan Integrated Steel Mills Inc. (IISM). It later on became the National Steel Corp. (NSC) and was sold to a Malaysian consortium in 1999. The plant remains idle to date, however, after the Malaysians failed to upgrade and integrate its operations to enable it to compete in a liberalized trade environment.

Roxas said Vice President Guingona envisions a wholly integrated Iligan Steel Plant that can operate profitably while providing employment not only for the labor force in its immediate environs but also linking up as a supplier of materials to down line and other industries dependent on steel as a basis material input.

The well-known economist said an integrated steel industry, together with the petrochem and engineering services is a necessary requirement for the country to move towards real industrialization.

Noting that the Philippines is less industrialized now than in 1979 and that in terms of economy, the country has terribly moved backwards, Roxas pointed out that the steel industry is the engine of 21st century growth as it has forward linkages to such strategic industries as intermediate sectors and capital goods industries. Hence the importance of rehabilitation and integration of the Iligan Steel Plant.

The Task Force is constituted by representatives from the private industry and the government. Direct assisting Roxas is Dr. Antonio V. Arizabal, executive adviser. Aside from Roxas and Arizabal, the other members are Arthur M. Florendo, David Arcenas, Raul Consunji, Jose Robles, Mario Viel and Leonardo R. Santiago.

From the government side, DTI/BOI and MIRDC also are represented so with the Iligan City government with Mayor Franklin M. Quijano.

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO

ARTHUR M

COORDINATOR OF THE TASK FORCE

DAVID ARCENAS

DR. ANTONIO V

ILIGAN

ILIGAN CITY

ILIGAN STEEL PLANT

PLANT

ROXAS

STEEL

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