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Pangilinan urges gov't to buy PPEs from local manufacturers

Pangilinan urges gov't to buy PPEs from local manufacturers

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan stressed the importance of buying personal protective equipment (PPEs) from local manufacturers that will help in the country’s overall economic recovery.

Pangilinan said buying from local manufacturers would help stabilize the job security of workers after he found out that some 3,500 laborers were laid off because of lack of demand.

“Pagkakataon ang krisis. Crisis is opportunity. Makaka-recover tayo economically, magkakaroon ng trabaho ang marami kung gagamitin natin ang gawa ng sarili nating mga kababayan,” said Pangilinan in a statement Wednesday.

“May pangangailangan para sa PPEs at kayang tugunan ng lokal na industriya. Sinabi na natin yan noong una pa, na gamitin natin ang sariling atin para makabangon ulit ang ating ekonomiya.”

(Crisis is opportunity. We will recover economically, many of our countrymen will get jobs if only we support what is made by our fellow Filipinos. There’s a need for PPEs and that can be met by the local industry. We’ve already said that at the beginning that we can use what is made here in the country so that the economy will recover.)

Pangilinan authored Senate Bill 1759 or the Pandemic Protection Act, which he filed in August 2020, and he proposed to exempt taxes for the importation of the needed raw materials for the production of PPEs which would then help lower the cost of production.

The bill also looked to exempt the local sales of products used for COVID-19 response from value-added tax.

“We had hoped this will incentivize the government to support local. Maraming pwedeng solusyon. Sana mapunta ang pera ng gobyerno sa lokal na mga manufacturers kaysa mapunta pa sa ibang bansa. Suportahan at bigyan ng trabaho ang ating mga kababayan. We fully support the proposed Senate hearing to look into this matter,” said Pangilinan.

(There are a lot of viable solutions. I hope that the government’s money will be used to purchase from local manufactures instead of those from abroad. We should support and give jobs to our countrymen.)

Members of the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (Conwep) said in a Senate hearing last week that they had to lay off as many as 3,500 workers from repurposed factories in December 2020.

This was after the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP) responded to the government’s call in March 2020 to refurbish facilities so that it can manufacture medical-grade PPEs.

The CPMP however said the government did not maximize the production of the local manufacturers despite joining the comprehensive procurement program from November to December 2020.

Despite the refurbishing of facilities, only 27 percent of the government’s monthly demand for cover-alls and gowns and 69 percent of the monthly mask capacity were given to local manufacturers.

“We urge the government to reconsider and review its procurement program. Pwede namang hindi nawalan ng trabaho ang 3,500 nating kababayan. Sa gitna ng pandemya, kailangang-kailangan ang trabaho. In fact, pwedeng gamiting oportunidad ang krisis na ito para magkaroon ng bagong sigla ang ating industriya,” said Pangilinan.

(We can find a solution wherein we should not lay off 3,500 workers. In the middle of the pandemic, everyone needs a job. In fact, we can use the crisis as an opportunity so that we can inject new life to our industries.)

/MUF

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