Filipino household help contribute more to econony than mining

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Mining operation of ANTONES Enterprises, GLOBAL Summit Mines Development Corporation and TR Ore in Matnog, Sorsogon. PHOTO BY CHRISTINE AZUL-ESPENILLA
Mining operation of ANTONES Enterprises, GLOBAL Summit Mines Development Corporation and TR Ore in Matnog, Sorsogon. PHOTO BY CHRISTINE AZUL-ESPENILLA

MANILA, Philippines (14-March-12) – The labors of Filipino household help in the country and abroad contribute more to the economy than mineral extraction, says research group IBON. This underscores how the mining industry’s contribution to the economy should not only be in terms of the value of minerals produced, but also how these should be used to develop Filipino industry.

While stressing that labor export and low-paying jobs manifest severe jobs scarcity in the country, IBON said that ironically, household help contributes more to the economy than mining — highlighting how problematic the export-oriented and liberal mining industry is in the country.

In 2011, Filipino domestic household workers in the Philippines and abroad contributed at least Php167.4 billion worth of services and remittances to the economy compared to the mining industry’s Php122.1 billion in gross production value or just Php99.2 billion in gross value added (GVA) according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). Mining and quarrying only accounted for 1.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011.

More than 15 times as many Filipinos work as domestic household workers than are employed in the mining industry. There were 1.95 million domestic help employed in the country (5.2% of total employment), aside from some 1.3 million more overseas, compared to only 211,000 (0.6% of employment) in mining.

IBON added that mining firms do not just employ much fewer people, but at most, give only short-term benefits to local communities which last only as long as mines are operating.

Moreover, the contribution of mining is finite and ends once the mineral resources are used up. The long-term loss of Philippine mineral resources is irreversible—this underscores how the country has to get economic benefits from its mineral wealth beyond a mere share in revenues. These additional benefits will only materialize if the country has domestic industry that processes its mineral wealth and uses these as inputs for manufacturing higher-value intermediate and final goods.

Mining firms currently just extract the country’s mineral resources which are exported for the benefit of foreign industries. As a rough indicator, for instance, in 2011 the US$43.3 million (Php88.5 billion) in mining exports was equivalent to 89% of mining GVA. While some of the country’s minerals return in final products imported by Filipinos, this is likely to be disproportionately small compared to Philippine mining exports because the country has a thin market for goods compared to many other countries.

The value of services rendered by domestic household workers was estimated by multiplying their number by their Php140.89 average daily basic pay, both taken from the Labor Force Survey (LFS), by 365 days of the year – for a total of Php100.3 billion. The average daily basic pay is taken as a proxy of the economic value of their services. The remittances from domestic household workers overseas was estimated by multiplying IBON’s estimate of 1.3 million working abroad by an assumed remittance of US$100 (Php4,300) per month – for a total of Php167.4 billion.

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