Governor Arthur Uy, who spoke to reporters at the Kapihan sa Dabaw press conference at SM City today, said he will make jewelry-making a priority of his administration.
Showing a bracelet he was wearing, he said it was ironic that Compostela Valley has the gold resources but it is not processing locally.
He said if areas such as Meycauayan in Bulacan, where there are no gold reserves, have lucrative jewelry-making industry, why not Compostela Valley?
He said there is a need for the local government to support at least ten skilled household-based jewelry-makers in the province.
Uy said the industry has already started but there is a great need to deal with marketing.
"They have the capacity and the skills, we have the resources. We just need the technical people to come in for designs and production style fit for the market," he said.
The province's new governor said they will push through with the cooperative set-up of the jewelry industry, which started three years ago. He cited a fund given by President Arroyo to a cooperative, but operations have not prospered due to a need for fine-tuning.
According to www.gov.ph, the President had given P1-million to the town of Monkayo in Compostela Valley for a SME into gold jewelry production in 2002.
Uy clarified that the cooperative already had sold jewelry during a Mindanao-wide tourism exposition.
He said they will send people to train in Bulacan starting this year. He also cited a plan to send trainees to Thailand.
Uy said they want to come up with a comprehensive plan on the project within the next two years.
In the meantime, he said, they will focus on what they can do at the local level. He said they will also look into developing their agriculture and tourism industries.
The governor, however, could not present figures for the volume of gold mined in the province. He also wants to know why the province got almost zero taxes from mining operations in eight towns in the province where small-scale mining operates.
He said the province lost "multi-million" revenues from taxation via the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Natural Resources Development Corporation, which has been granted full control and total management of the small scale mining operations in Mt. Diwata, Diwalwal, Monkayo town. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)