‘Buy, buy, buy’ — maybe that’s where the fun is?

/ 05:02 AM August 08, 2019

The MRT 3 rails from Japan have arrived. Hopefully soon, the public will begin enjoying safer and more efficient MRT service. People look forward to it — except me. I see in the arrival of those rails how inept we have been.

There is nothing so intricate in how the rails look, but we have to procure them from another country. If the rails were only made of wood, our craftsmen could have produced those rails in their woodworks plants. But the rails were made of steel, which we don’t have.


The technology to smelt iron ores — which we have plenty — to produce steel was led by England in the 19th century. The spread of that technology to many countries was so rapid that a country’s national power came to be  measured by the quantity of steel it produced. With steel, our colonizers built railroad systems  to move things they could take from us. That was over a hundred years ago.

Sadly, our country never developed and built on that knowledge, and so today, we continue to remain in the Third World. Steel was the product from whence the first industrial revolution, and the First World, developed. Those countries’ machines, tanks, guns, ships and airplanes were fabricated from that product.  We, on the other hand, have had to import our weapons, tools and machinery ever since. Soon, there will be miles and miles of railroad tracks coming out of the “Build, build, build” program, but the only expertise I hear is “buy.” That must be where the fun is.


We can never be self-reliant in our defense and security unless and until we can acquire the technology to produce steel, to allow us to fabricate our weapons and build our ships. Without steel, we can’t raise our national power to attain some degree of respect.


Lieutenant General, AFP (Ret.)

[email protected]

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TAGS: Antonio E. Sotelo, imports, Inquirer letters, self-reliance, steel production
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