THE OPERATION of PICOP is one of the undertakings of MinDA in reviving and rehabilitating industries in Mindanao. — NATHAN DUMLAO-UNSPLASH

THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MinDA) said it is planning to revive steel and pulp and paper mills in Mindanao.

MinDA Chairman Emmanuel F. Piñol said he will hold a virtual conference with officials of Bislig City, Surigao del Sur on Tuesday to find ways to restore to operations the paper mill of the Paper Industries Corp. of the Philippines (PICOP) there.

Mr. Piñol said the city government, led by Mayor Florencio C. Garay, will present options to rehabilitate the pulp and paper processing facility, which closed in 2006.

“The operation of PICOP is one of the undertakings of MinDA in reviving and rehabilitating industries in Mindanao which collapsed because of economic difficulties, mismanagement, ill-advised and abrupt privatization and corruption,” Mr. Piñol said in a social media post over the weekend.  

Mr. Piñol said PICOP operated the only fully integrated pulp and paper mill in Southeast Asia starting in 1963.

“However, PICOP’s productive years were beleaguered by both external and internal problems — natural calamities; national economic and political instability; high fuel costs in the international market; unfavorable national market conditions due to market globalization; subtle effects of full privatization; emergence of poachers, smugglers and other unscrupulous illegal log buyers within PICOP’s areas of concessions; and the legal and environmental constraints, affected PICOP’s operation, production, and financial standing that forced PICOP to shut down in 2006,” according to a study cited by Mr. Piñol conducted by Reynante B. Casiro and Emmalyn T. Catubig of Central Mindanao University.

Meanwhile, Mr. Piñol said the revival of the steel industry in Iligan City is also going to be the subject of exploratory talks with city officials.

“We will also engage the city government of Iligan to explore ways of reviving and rehabilitating this industry, which processed local mineral resources and scrap iron, provided jobs and propelled the economic growth of Mindanao,” Mr. Piñol said.

“The Iligan City Steel Mill is a story of economic difficulties and the apparent lack of resolve on the part of the National Government to support a local industry which could have greatly contributed to the economic growth of the country,” he added.  

Mr. Piñol recently announced that the Development Bank of the Philippines has confirmed its support for MinDA’s plan to revive the plywood and veneer industry with the use of fast-growing tree varieties.

He said MinDA hopes to conduct a virtual convention of tree farmers by the end of the month to organize the Mindanao Industrial Tree Farming Development Council. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave