By Hannah Torregoza
The Philippines stands to gain greater international attention for fresh investments if it recreates the “Made in the Philippines” brand.
Reelectionist Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said this was possible especially if the government provides the manufacturing industry a chance for a serious makeover.
For instance, the country can take advantage of the global attention Filipino cuisine and street foods have been getting lately.
“Made in the Philippines could also mean grown, caught or even cooked in the Philippines,” said Angara, who is seeking another six-year Senate term in the upcoming May 2019 midterm elections.
“Not many around the world know—and neither do our people—that we are, in fact, manufacturing world-class products here in the country or are already taking part in global value chains,” said the senator, who is running under the platform “Alagang Angara.”
In the past five years, Angara said many top-line publications like the New York Times and BuzzFeed had, in one way or another, raised about the possible mainstreaming of popular Pinoy foods like “adobo”, “kare-kare”, “sisig”, “laing” and “lumpia.”
“This is apart, of course, from the meteoric rise of local fast-food giant Jollibee,” he pointed out.
The lawmaker noted that food festivals are also now being conducted in many parts of the country, such as Pampanga, the Cordilleras, Quezon, Iloilo and even as close as Las Piñas City.
“Not only do these create a sense of community among residents, they also become veritable tourist attractions,” Angara stressed.
Angara, who has been pushing for a new “Made in the Philippines” campaign, explained that while the country enjoys a unique competitive advantage and highly skilled manpower, it has to level up the standards, innovate and infuse global knowledge into the local industries.
In fact, he said, this was already taking place in Batangas, where Boeing, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes, has been operating with the help of Filipino engineers and other staff, as well as in Dyson—a British company that sells top-of-the-line hairdryers and vacuum cleaners—which has relocated its major production facilities in the Philippines because majority of its engineers are Filipinos.
“We can help expand the footprint of our manufacturing industry by making it known across the world that we are in fact already doing such ‘globally connected’ things. That we are already operating on a world-class level,” he added.
Should he win another fresh term in the Senate, Angara said he would pursue the resolution of fundamental problems, such as cost of doing business, power and water rates, wages, uncertainty over tax incentives and tax reforms, in order to spruce up the country’s “Made in the Philippines” plug.
“Pursuing such program is no easy task and requires more than just marketing and advertisement skills…these are the issues we intend to resolve with a renewed term in the Senate,” the senator said.
Angara also pointed out, the “Made in the Philippines” campaign could also mean promoting the brand of service Filipinos provide.
This was possible, the lawmaker said, citing the country’s track record with the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector where Filipinos are able to masterfully leverage their ability to speak English fluently and impeccable service culture.
Based on the latest data, he said approximately 1.2 million people are directly employed in BPOs, with revenues last year estimated at about $24-billion.
“The industry’s contribution to job creation alone has enabled the country to pare down unemployment stats, increase the ranks of the middle class, and contribute to increased consumer spending,” he said.