Maids contribute more to PH economy than mining

By Cai U. Ordinario, BusinessMirror

Posted at Mar 15 2012 08:01 AM | Updated as of Mar 15 2012 07:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Here's something for the stakeholders in the mining industry to chew on: The collective contribution of Filipino household helps to the country’s economy may have far exceeded that of the entire mining industry in 2011, according to local research group Ibon Foundation Inc.

In 2011 Ibon said Filipino domestic household workers in the Philippines and abroad contributed at least P167.4 billion in services and remittances to the economy compared to the mining industry’s P122.1 billion in gross production value.

“While labor export and low-paying jobs manifest severe jobs scarcity in the country, household help contributes more to the economy than mining—highlighting how problematic the export-oriented and liberal mining industry is in the country,” Ibon said in a statement.

Ibon also said one of the reasons household helps contribute larger to the economy is that there are 15 times more Filipinos who work as domestic household workers than those employed in the mining industry.

Ibon said there were 3.25 million domestic help employed in the country and abroad in 2011, compared to only 211,000 Filipinos employed in the mining industry.

“Mining firms do not just employ fewer people, but at most, give only short-term benefits to local communities which last only as long as mines are operating,” Ibon said.

Ibon said mining causes the long-term loss of Philippine mineral resources and this is irreversible and does not provide any value-added to impact the local manufacturing industry.

The group said benefiting from the sector fully could only happen if the country has a domestic industry that processes minerals. These processed minerals can then be used as inputs for manufacturing higher-value intermediate and final goods.

Currently, mining firms extract the country’s mineral resources and export these minerals. Ibon said that as a rough indicator, in 2011 the $43.3 million or P88.5 billion in mining exports was equivalent to 89 percent of mining gross value-added (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,” Ibon said.

Ibon said the value of services rendered by domestic household workers was estimated by multiplying their number by their P140.89 average daily basic pay, taken from the Labor Force Survey (LFS), by 365 days of the year.

This resulted in an average daily basic pay worth P100.3 billion. This was used by Ibon 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 $100 or P4,300 per month, for a total of P167.4 billion.

On the contrary, it is estimated that the mining industry only posted P99.2 billion in GVA, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Mining and quarrying only accounted for 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2011.