Buying Filipino is key to economic recovery: Pangilinan

AS the Philippine economy continues to contract in the 1st quarter of 2021, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan encourages everyone to buy local products to stimulate economic recovery.

“Mahalin natin ang sariling atin, bilhin natin ang mga lokal na produkto ng ating mga kababayan. Sa ganitong paraan kumikita sila at nakakatulong tayo sa kanilang kabuhayan. Mga halimbawa nito ay mga lokal na PPEs, mga produktong agrikultural at pagkain,” said Pangilinan.

“Patuloy tayong nag-iimport ng mga PPEs, samantalang maraming supply na available dito. Dahil sa kakulangan ng demand mayroong nawalan ng trabaho ang 3,500 na manggagawa,” said Pangilinan.

Earlier, the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) said that local suppliers are not maximized in the government’s comprehensive procurement program when they joined toward the latter part of 2020.

According to CPMP, only 27 percent of the government’s monthly demand for cover-alls and gowns, and 69 percent of the monthly mask capacity were granted to local suppliers and were already delivered in January and February 2021. This amounts to 660 million pesos worth of PPEs.

“Hindi lamang sa PPEs pero pati na rin sa mga produktong agrikultural katulad ng bigas at karneng baboy. Bakit parang mas kinikilingan ang mga imported na produkto?” he added.

While experiencing devastating losses due to  African swine fever (ASF), local hog raisers lament the national government’s actions which seem to favor importers. Continuous losses and massive pork importation can force raisers out of business.

Malacañang has issued Executive Order 128 lowering import tariffs for pork, potentially costing the government 11 billion pesos in tariff collections with the flood of pork imports severely impacting local pork production.

The Senate adopted Pangilinan’s Senate Resolution 97 calling for the declaration of a State of Calamity to free up funds needed to address ASF, as well as to oppose the reduction of tariff rates and the lifting of the cap on imported pork products. Early this week, Malacañang declared a State of Calamity due to ASF.

“We can boost the economy by buying local products, or if we can, buy directly from farmers, hog raisers, fishers. It is beneficial for everyone. Kung may kakilala kayo na nagbebenta ng mga lokal na produkto, supportahan natin sila.”

“Pag kumikita ang mga suppliers, dadami ang supply, pag dumami ang supply, bababa ang presyo sa merkado. It is a positive chain of effect. Lahat panalo,” said the former food secretary.

The Philippine economy has continued to contract for five straight quarters, as the Philippine Statistic Authority yesterday announced that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Despite the easing of quarantine restrictions, experts predict that the economy will recover slower than expected.