By SENATOR SONNY ANGARA
The past few columns have been a discussion on keeping our youth from going overseas in their quest not only to earn more, but to learn more and develop new skills. And though we have an expanding freelance economy with “digital migrants” leading the way, the thrust should be to develop our own industries, so that more jobs are available here on local soil. Of course, that is no easy task.
For the Philippines, we believe that we should approach this challenge by following through on a “Tatak Pinoy” or “Made in the Philippines” industrialization policy and campaign. This is why we filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 4, calling for the appropriate Senate committees to conduct an inquiry with the end-view of formulating such policy and campaign.
Tatak Pinoy — or some equivalent more marketable to global audiences — can be used to encourage foreign and local investors to put their money, manufacturing, and even their research and development in the Philippines.
As we wrote last week, Collins Aerospace, Dyson Philippines, and Knowles Electronics have all set up manufacturing plants here. In the case of Collins and Dyson, they have also found value in the fact that we have a talent pool for the engineers that they need for their products. Knowles took it one step further: they teamed up with University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) to develop a course on Acoustic Engineering, so that they could develop the local talent pool.
We’re working to compile and hopefully showcase glowing stories like these, as examples of how our country is taking interesting steps to further develop what we already know how to do and diversify into related products and services. More importantly, these stories underscore how our people provide enough value to circumvent all other dampeners to our competitiveness, like high energy costs and poor infrastructure.
We’ve already told the world that it’s more fun in the Philippines. Now, we should also begin broadcasting that we’re interested to make, make, make—not only build, build, build. DTI, DOST, and other government departments and industry leaders are already on the table with us for these matters. We hope to broaden the scope of the conversation and involve more.
We know that we have a talent pool of engineers in Collins who have the knowhow to manufacture airplane cabin equipment and interiors. What else can they do? How much more do we have to add to the community knowhow, before we can start building, say, a small airplane?
We also aim to approach local industries and entrepreneurs with these simple questions: What do you need? What do we have now that you can use to improve your industry? What can government offer to help you produce more of your products and services?
Take this as an example. The University of Santo Tomas has facilities for prototyping in their Engineering Labs, such as computer-controlled mills and lathes, 3D printers, and laser cutters. With the coordination of the school and the government, how can these facilities help the local industries? It really is time to invite industry leaders and other similar entities to the table to find out what they need, and compare that with what the government currently has, to see what can be done now, and what will have to be discussed for the future.
The development of our economy—aided by proper planning—should lay the foundation for why our youth will decide to stay. And as we move into a new technological age, the challenge is to make sure that our industries adapt and diversify, to make themselves attractive to our youth. The youth are looking forward, and they want to make sure they have the collective knowhow to face the future. Why shouldn’t we develop our industries, to make sure they can learn it here? Let this serve as an open call to everyone who has an idea on how we can make this so. (30)
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Senator Sonny Angara has been in public service for 15 years—9 years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and 6 as Senator. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws. He recently won another term in the Senate.