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Senator pushes for ‘buy local’ policy

A SENATOR on Wednesday urged the government and the public to buy local products to boost the economy following its contraction in the first quarter of 2021.

In a statement, Senator Francis N. Pangilinan underscored the need to tap locally-made personal protective equipment (PPE) and agriculture products to boost livelihood.

“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 (We continue to import PPEs when there are many available supplies here. Because of the lack of demand, around 3,500 workers lost their jobs),” said Mr. Pangilinan.

The country’s gross domestic product fell by an annual 4.2% in the first quarter, the fifth straight quarter the economy contracted, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday.

Mr. Pangilinan said local suppliers are not maximized by the government in its procurement, citing the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE.

The group said only 27% of the government’s monthly demand for cover-all and gowns, and 69% of monthly mask capacity were awarded to local suppliers.

For agricultural products, homegrown rice and pork should be prioritized over imported products.

“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 (If you know someone who sells local products, let’s support them),” he said.

“It is a positive chain of effect,” he added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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