The government is expected to prioritize the acquisition of local products for various programs, from protective gear for health workers to construction materials for infrastructure projects, under the newly signed Bayanihan 2 law.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, signed by President Duterte last Friday, mandates the preference for locally made products in the implementation of government programs and projects related in the fight against the pandemic.
The Bayanihan 2 law allocates a P165.5 billion funding to boost the government’s coronavirus response as well as provide aid to workers and businesses affected by the pandemic.
“Actually sa Bayanihan 2 na pinirmahan ni Presidente, nakapaloob na ‘yung government procurement will prefer locally made products. Dapat ‘yung tendency natin, bias natin preference natin will be locally made products (Actually under Bayanihan 2 signed by the President, it states that government procurement will prefer locally made products. Our tendency, bias and preference will be locally made products),” Nograles said during a forum on Facebook Saturday night.
“Sa Bayanihan 2, nakalagay doon ‘yung infrastructure na kailangan natin gawin panlaban sa COVID-19, hindi lang sa PPEs, hindi lang sa medical equipment, pero even in construction, government procurement will give preference to locally made products (In Bayanihan 2, it listed the infrastructure we need to fight COVID-19, not just PPEs and medical equipment but even in construction, government procurement will give preference to locally made products),” he added.
Nograles said choosing local products would support Filipino businesses, thereby preserve jobs and revitalize the local economy.
“At this point we are talking about how to get our economy back on its feet; one of the best ways is to buy Filipino,” he said. “Our call is buy local, buy Filipino––suportahan natin ang sariling atin,” he added.
He said consumers can report to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) if some manufacturers mislabel their products and pass them off as made in the Philippines. “It is unfortunate that there are those who do this, pero di dapat sila makalusot. Bawal ang mislabeling, there are laws against that,” he said.
Nograles also backed proposals to include the name of the region in the labels of agricultural products sold in the market. “When it comes to agricultural products, fresh produce, there has to be a way for us to know which region it is from, paraan na rin yan para ipagmalaki ng mga rehiyon ang mga produkto nila (That’s a way for the regions to be proud of their products),” he said.
The government has slowly eased the strict lockdown measures in the country, allowing more businesses to operate in a bid to stimulate the sluggish economy.
The local economy has weakened in the second quarter of the year after the coronavirus lockdown forced some shops to close or scale down operations, and displaced many workers.
The passage of the Bayanihan 2 law is part of the government’s efforts to facilitate economic recovery. The Build Build Build infrastructure program and the proposed 2021 national budget are also expected to help promote economic growth and assist affected sectors get back on their feet.