The Philippines National Steel Corporation, the country’s largest and only rolling mill plant went on rapid expansion and upgrading of its Iligan facilities in the decade of the 80’s. It was a series of FYEP’s or Five Year Expansion Programs which hoped to finally make its integrated steel plant a reality.
At the turn of the 90’s, signs indicated a short lived progress; ther party’s over. Finally, in 1994, the first of its continuing retrenchment came. I was with the first batch. Not even the entry of Malaysia’s wing Tiek Group and later the Hottic Group, touted as earlier as the saviors but turned out to be just its opposite, could reverse the slide.
Finally, almost at the end of 1999, after 5 years of uncertainty and hemorrhage, the inevitable came. The company and the plant went on complete shutdown. By then, the company’s best and brightest, technical and managerial men especially, went on exodus mostly abroad, like the uS, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
NSC’s and the Philippines’ loss, the gain of these supposed to be industrialized countries. A classic “brain drain.”
Meanwhile, “Steeltown,” once a bustling housing community of NSC’s employees almost became a “Ghostown,” exactly a similar acsene carved out in the movie Full Monty. Lonely, deserted---a gory reminder of steel glory lost.