NORTHERN Mindanao ranked seventh among the country’s biggest export contributors in 2009 with an amount of US$947.523 million or 1.93 percent shares to the world market.

Mike Ignacio, executive director of Philippine Export (PhilExport) in the region, said that among the raw or processed materials exported to other countries include coconut and its by-products, pineapples (prepared or preserved) with Del Monte as the big time supplier, organic chemicals, abaca pulp, pulps of fiber derived from recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard or other fibrous cellulosic material, and iron and steel.

But even with the region’s great contribution to the country’s export, Ignacio lamented the fact that the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, has a vast productive lands that only foreign investors and other countries benefited, which he said is a “sad reality.”

“Filipino farmers failed to maximize the abundance of the Philippines because they are used to being spoon-fed by foreign investors,” Ignacio said during a forum on Philippine Trade Policy on Tuesday.

The forum was held at Dynasty Court Hotel and was facilitated by the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., in cooperation with Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (Ideals).

Ignacio said because of this, Filipinos end up having class C products while foreigners and other countries enjoyed the benefit of class A1 products, may it be food, clothing and other materials that came from Philippines.

“Imports of products from other countries are the effect of the traditional Filipino attitude, which is laziness,” he lamented, adding that the government never failed to provide farmers with good ideas and allocations and that government is not to be blamed for the crisis in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, Ignacio said he is proud of the region’s performance in the export market.

Aside from Northern Mindanao, other regions with big export contributions include the National Capital Region (NCR) with 50.39 percent shares, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Davao Region.

article by Nicole J. Managbanag. Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 24, 2010.

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