PCCI favors ‘buy local’ initiative in gov’t bidding

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THE country’s largest organization has expressed its support to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in pushing for the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 9184 otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act to allow bidding only for all Filipino-made products that are certified by the government.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez told the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) that the DTI has been pushing in Congress for the amendment of RA 9184 to incorporate certain provisions that would allow bidding solely for Philippine manufactured products that are certified by the government.

“In the budget discussions in Congress, we have been pushing for the Buy Local, Go Local program to be incorporated in the government procurement policy, meaning we want to have biddings only for all Filipino-made products that are certified by the government. Everybody in Congress agrees to it, even the opposition senators but some quarters were afraid as it might be abused,” Lopez said, adding that the present procurement law has no distinction over local or imported goods.

But Lopez clarified that the proposal will not serve as a general policy but rather a special program to help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the pandemic and create opportunities for their recovery and growth.

He said that the DTI is looking at implementing this program initially to manufacture healthcare products.

Promote MSMEs

The Buy Local, Go Local is DTI’s campaign to promote MSMEs and encourage Filipinos to patronize locally made fresh produce and manufactured goods as well as stimulate and boost domestic travel by utilizing the facilities and services of Philippine-owned establishments.

PCCI president George Barcelon said the chamber, whose membership is composed of a majority of small and medium businesses, fully supports the initiative of DTI as it will bring hope and drive to MSMEs to start again and eventually contribute to economic growth.

“The Buy Local, Go Local is certainly a good platform that PCCI and DTI can work with. We hope that we can convince our legislatures to pass this measure or at least come up with a policy that will provide support and boost the recovery of our MSMEs. This is one way of helping them recover and thrive again,” Barcelon said in a statement.

The inclusion of the MSMEs is part of the policy wish of one of Cebu’s business leaders this year.

Rey Calooy, chairman of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc., said besides access to financial assistance to aid in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and from the wrath of Typhoon Odette (Rai), the group hopes the government will make MSMEs their biggest supplier of products and services. (KOC with PR)

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