The Nagkaisa labor coalition on Wednesday deplored what it calls as unbridled expansion of the Duterte administration’s ‘Pivot-to-China’ policy.
The group was referring to the supposed preference accorded to Chinese-made PPEs by the government at the expense of local manufacturers and thousands of their workers.
“Pati ba naman PPEs ‘pivot to China’ pa rin ang policy,” lamented Nagkaisa Chair Sonny Matula, as he reacted to published reports of gripes being raised against the government by local PPE manufacturers.
The Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP), a group composed of five experienced manufacturers in electronics and garments, have been complaining about lack of support to local industry even as it was the government itself which prodded them to repurpose their businesses for the production of medical grade PPEs amid the pandemic.
Repurposing their facilities, the group said, cost them $35 million in investments. The CPMP, as reported, has a total capacity to make 720 million masks, 36 million coveralls and isolation gowns and 120 million PPE-related accessory covers.
But the Duterte administration, the group claimed, bought only a portion of that supply as most PPEs were procured from China. The group, in one public hearing held at the Senate, reported that some 3,500 of their workers have already been laid off.
“We could have saved these workers and created more jobs had the government made it a strategy to support key sectors of the economy that have the potential of producing the country’s needs during the pandemic,” said Matula, adding that even the government can venture into this kind of production as we have trained workforce available for this kind of jobs.
The group demands that procurement policy be changed to prioritize local production as well as the full disclosure to who or what groups have largely benefited from importing PPEs abroad.
05 May 2021