Government was told to urgently craft a “resilience plan” that will allow the economy “to deftly evade” the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of plants and back offices of Honda, Wells Fargo and other multinationals in the country.
The call was made by Sen. Sonny Angara as the Senate finance committee opens a series of hearings that will draw a roadmap to create world-class products and services that will proudly bear the “Tatak Pinoy” brand.
“Yes, there is no vaccine yet against the virus. But in terms of protecting our economy, in increasing its defenses, I believe that government must have a contingency plan,” Angara said.
Angara said the virus can put “some vulnerable sectors of the economy like tourism in the ICU if we do not mount measures that will cushion its impact. “
Angara’s committee had scheduled “all hands on deck” workshops on how “to evolve a consuming economy to one that produces and invests” long before the global crisis incubated in Wuhan, China.
“So in addition to the agenda of creating more jobs within the next decade, we are now faced with the challenge of protecting jobs within the next weeks or months,” Angara said.
Angara said that while the government cannot fully control global events, providing a conducive environment for investments is one it can shape.
Angara described as “the nation’s number one project this decade” the fast transformation of the economy, “preferably within our generation so that more well-paying jobs are created, especially in the countryside.”
He said the Senate finance committee has decided to conduct an inventory of the “patchwork of government programs” to better “leverage the P4.1 trillion national budget into achieving the most important bottom line in spending – jobs for our people.”
“We have to map out all our underutilized assets and use this as a springboard in prioritizing sectors, places and industries that can create wealth using Filipino talent,” he said.
On this, Angara said there is no shortage of Filipino “exemplars” whose products have captured global acclaim and markets.
“Some of these Tatak Pinoy exemplars are well-known – like furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, or the Puentespina family and their award-winning Malagos Chocolate from Davao. Then we have big brands like Jollibee, Oishi, and Bench that are known throughout the world,” he said.
“But then there are other successes worth noting, like the ceramics company CSM Philippines of the Manrique family who have been exporting handmade fine bone china plates, bowls, tea cups and pots to the world,” Angara said.
Other niches carved by Filipinos are in the creative sector of the knowledge economy, Angara said.
He cited Ubisoft, which developed the videogame franchise Assassin’s Creed from its Laguna studio and the Makati-based SG Interactive, which prepares audiovisual presentations of Fortune 500 companies.
Angara believes that “talent is here, as well as the other ingredients, that can create great products and services that can not only compete, but win in the global market,” he said.