By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
A consumer group called on the Duterte government to maximize the use of local construction materials for its flagship “Build Build Build” program to help sustain jobs for Filipinos amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This should be a priority as long as these local companies are compliant with product standards and labeling plus markings and manufacturers,” said Vic Dimagiba, president of Laban Konsyumer.
Dimagiba said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should release a list of legitimate brands available in the market for the protection and information of consumers.
The DTI, for its part, earlier expressed support to the use of local construction materials, particularly cement, for projects under the “Build, Build, Build’ program.
“If the cement, steel, pipes, metal sheets are locally made and up to standard, prefer the local,” said Lopez, adding that patronizing local products boost other industries and job generation for many Filipinos.
During the deliberation on the “Bayanihan To Recover As One Act” or Bayanihan 2 Act, Lopez actively pushed for the use of local construction materials for infrastructure projects of national and local governments.
The DTI chief also advocated that locally-produced medical products, particularly personal protective equipment, be given preference in the purchase of supplies amid the pandemic.
“Government expenditure to effectively stimulate the economy should create demand for the domestic manufacturers. We should maximize the use of government funds to save Filipino jobs and not foreign jobs,” Lopez pointed out.
Various stakeholders have called on the DTI to be vigilant against the entry of fake and defective products, such as cement and steel bars, that could adversely affect local industries and employment.