MANILA -- A lawmaker called on Monday for a moratorium on the exportation of metallic mineral ores to China amid the ongoing territorial dispute in the Panatag (Scarborough) shoal.
Western Samar Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento, vice chairperson of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, pointed out that the Philippines' metallic mineral exports to China are partly responsible for the latter's rapid military expansion and modernization.
He said it would not take very long before China's 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. We should re-think our trade policies especially with our metallic mineral exports," the lawmaker said.
"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 added.
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, he noted.
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," the Visayan lawmaker said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)