Govt, private sector buying local will spur economic recovery: Pangilinan

GOVERNMENT and private sector buying local would be crucial for the economic recovery following the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the successive typhoons, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Wednesday.

“Again, during these trying times and the struggles that our enterprises and local industries are facing, we need to help one another. We need to draw strength from each other,” Pangilinan said during the plenary deliberations on the budget of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“So private sector and government placing emphasis on locally made products would really be a great help for the local industries,” he added.

At the Senate session, Pangilinan reiterated his call for the inclusion of a provision in next year’s budget requiring government agencies to prioritize local products in the purchase of needed materials and supplies for their operation and projects.

Senate Finance Committee chairperson Sen. Sonny Angara said there was a special provision for government to procure locally made as much as possible as long as the variance did not exceed 15 percent with the cheapest available foreign counterpart. 

While the provision was also provisionally approved by Malacañang, subject to competitive bidding and other rules, Angara said he would be happy to oblige to Pangilinan’s suggestion and include it in next year’s budget.

To tap the private sector’s help, Pangilinan also suggested that DTI should require companies registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority to prioritize the sourcing of needed materials from local suppliers.

Angara, for his part, called Pangilinan’s proposal as progressive, patriotic, and compassionate, while Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed his support for the suggestion.