Independent senatorial candidate Charlie Gaddi grossly underestimated the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and gave an incorrect value of the local mining industry in a television debate.
During the March 3 round of ABS-CBN’s “Harapan” town hall debate, Gaddi and the other candidates were asked how they would address contractualization or “endo,” which is the hiring of employees for a fixed term and continuously renewing their contracts to avoid paying benefits enjoyed by regular employees.
Gaddi answered that the root of the problem is the lack of jobs in the Philippines, which has led many Filipinos to work abroad:
“Ang problema po natin ngayon, ang atin pong ekonomiya ay walang kakayahan na magbigay ng trabaho. Ito po ay pinatutunayan ng pito hanggang sampung libong Pilipino na ngayon ay nasa-abroad (Our problem today is that our economy isn’t able to provide jobs. This has been proven by the 7,000 to 10,000 Filipinos abroad now).”
Source: ABS-CBN News, Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate, March 3, 2019, watch from 40:27-40:42
Gaddi was also asked during the “Fast Talk” segment of the same debate whether he would support a ban on mining in the Philippines. He responded that it should be suspended temporarily:
“Pansamantala itigil muna dahil kinakailangan i-rationalize po natin ‘yan. Hindi po natin nakikita kung saan napupunta yung mga tax niyan. Ang totoo, pangatlo tayo sa merong pinakamalaking mina sa mundo. Meron po tayong $875 billion na halaga ng mina, pero saan po napupunta ang kita niyan (We need to stop mining temporarily because we need to rationalize it. We don’t know where the taxes are going. In fact, we are ranked third among the largest mines in the world. Our mines are worth $875 billion, but where are the revenues from these going)?”
Source:ABS-CBN News, Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate, March 3, 2019, watch from 1:03:19-1:03:48
The latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that from April to September 2017 around 2.3 million Filipino workers were deployed overseas, remitting an estimated P205.2 billion.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, the main government agency tasked to monitor and supervise recruitment agencies in the country, said in a preliminary report that 1,050,621 OFWs were deployed from January to June 2018 — 950,809 land-based and 99,812 sea-based workers.
Meanwhile, the latest Mineral Industry Statistics report of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) estimated the mining industry’s 2017 gross production value, which pertains to the total value of the minerals extracted, at P170.2 billion or around $3.2 billion.
Large-scale metallic mining had the biggest contribution at P109.5 billion, followed by small-scale gold mining with P900 million, and non-metallic mining, P59.8 billion. The MGB also said the industry paid P25.7 billion in taxes that year and made over $4.25 billion (around P224 billion) from mineral and non-mineral exports.
The MGB said that in 2012 the Philippines ranked fifth globally in overall mineral reserves, with an estimated $840 billion in untapped mineral deposits like gold, copper, nickel, chromite, manganese, silver, and iron.
ABS-CBN News, Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate, March 3, 2019
Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Mining Industry Statistics, Nov. 19, 2018
Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Deployed Overseas Filipino Workers – By Type of Hiring (2006 to 1st semester 2018)
Philippine Statistics Authority, 2017 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, May 18, 2018
Senate Economic Planning Office, Realizing the Philippines’ Mining Potential, December 2013