By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday pushed for a new “Made in the Philippines” campaign that that would make use of the country’s unique competitive advantage in the services sector and encourage Filipinos to stay and work in the country.
Angara said the government should look for more ways to attract investments that would create higher-paying jobs for Filipinos to dissuade them from leaving the country and work abroad, particularly in the services and manufacturing sectors.
“It’s not enough that we create just more jobs, we need to create better jobs so we can prevent our countrymen from leaving the Philippines to work abroad,” Angara said in a statement.
“The Philippines is a services economy and a lead exporter of services, and we can use this as a starting point for a new Made-in-the-Philippines campaign,” said the senator who is running under the platform “Alagang Angara.”
The “Made-in-the-Philippine” campaign does not have to be a particular good: “It can be a service that we perform, but we have to figure out what the core competencies are and try to leverage on that,” he said.
He cited the country’s economic growth by 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, driven by the services sector which posted the highest share in the gross domestic product of 56.2 percent, followed by industry (34.8 percent), and agriculture (8.9 percent).
Angara, who also chairs the Senate committee on ways and means, said the government should also beef up investments in the manufacturing sector given its enormous potential to create jobs.
The manufacturing sector refers to industries that are involved in the manufacturing and processing of items and indulge in either creation of new commodities or in value addition.
These industries are generally categorized into engineering, construction, electronics, chemicals, energy, textile, food and beverage, steel, plastics, and transport and telecommunications.
Angara cited the case of the Freeport Area of Bataan, formerly Bataan Export Processing Zone, which created more than 20,000 jobs in about five years, and which some provinces in the country can duplicate.
“That’s something that you want to replicate all over the country. How did they do it? How do you build the manufacturing sector?” he pointed out.
“How do you keep the BPO (business process outsourcing) momentum going? Someone has to put these efforts together,” the lawmaker stressed.
Angara also noted the sector’s huge potential to create jobs for an estimated 2.29 million unemployed Filipinos.