By JOENALD MEDINA RAYOS
ASIDE from the long and sandy beaches with pristine waters that Batangas is known for, the province is also blessed with very rich inland natural resources. The taxes derived from the extraction of minerals and the long line of dump trucks loaded with mine aggregates and construction materials simply proves such claim.
For the very first time in history, Batangas is now exporting mineral aggregates to other country. The destination – Saipan in Mariana Islands in the FSM (Federated State of Micronesia), in the vast Pacific Region.
Gelston Trading & Services, Inc. (GTSI) is the lucky company to have bagged the export contract. Lucky as it is, the trading processes did not happen overnight.
“Yes it is an opportunity but not without challenges due to logistics and government restrictions. It’s like a needle hole that we need to go through. It has been a long process to get the MOEP (Mineral Ore Export Permit) and the shipper needs to comply with safety and sanitation certificates, but finally we are good to go,” GTSI Chief Executive Officer Rufina Villena Gelston told the BALIKAS News.
“It is not a state of feeling but an adjective, we develop diligence and became more responsible. And definitely proud to make our country or particularly the province of Batangas as the source to develop another country’s essential infrastructure like an airport,” she continued.
GTSI is exporting crushed gravel and sand from the mountain quarry operations, particularly from barangays San Marcelino and Piña which is a family owned aggregate land.
Under the contract, GTSI is selling to GPPC Inc. an initial purchase order volume of 5,000 cbm which will be use for the design mix for the cement and asphalt for the Saipan airport project.
“After this initial purchase agreement, we are expecting another purchase order which will cover the main priority project line up of our client,” Villena-Gelston said.
Technically, the Port of Subukin in the town of San Juan, Batangas advanced to become an international port as the containerized shipments will be loaded in barges using the said seaport.
But, do the province, or particularly, the company, still have deposits or resources of such minerals that can be extracted that would suffice the import requirement of its clientele?
“I believe that geographically, we are blessed with these natural resources, being in the mountainous area of Taysan. My father (Hernando Villena) is fortunate enough that through hardwork, he acquired overtime a massive aggregate land area the quality of which and its high density passes through the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) standard and passes the FSM (Federated State of Micronesia) requirements,” Villena-Gelston explained.
“But because of so many limitations we have with the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB), the distance to the projects sites and bad road condition, power interruptions or total brownout that sometimes last for a whole day, all of these add up to the challenges for both buyer and seller. The way it’s currently going, will probably take another life time to extract where we are extracting now. So to answer the question, yes, we have ample supply for export requirement and for the local demands,” she continued.
GTSI is headquartered at Barangay Pinagbayanan in Taysan town. However, its quarry operation is located in Barangay San Marcelino, also in Taysan, Batangas.
An exploration, quarry operator and trading company, Gelston Trading & Services, Inc. was given an area to be extracted by the Montevil Trading Corp., a relatively one of the biggest and pioneering quarry operator in Taysan town, founded by the Villena patriarch few decades back.
But like other quarry operators in the area, GTSI is operating independently from Montevil with a quarry permit issued by the DENR-MGB and is renewable every five (5) years.
Before getting the exporting contract, GTSI is marketing its products locally, having a good time supplying to the various infrastructure projects under the build build build program of the government.
Few years back, GTSI jointly undertook a reforestation project in Barangay Piña with Montevil Trading Corporation and other operators in Taysan. A massive tree-planting activity was carried out in partnership with various civic-society groups and volunteers from different government agencies, among others.| – BNN