As delivered, 25 September 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.

Looking at the theme of this morning’s gathering, “Bayanihan: Rebuild Industries and Save Jobs”—ReBUILD has a new meaning: Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand. These are all the ingredients if we are to revive and revitalize our economy.

We have to restart the economy, that’s why in the many programs of the IATF, I have been pushing for an early reopening, I think since June-July, and right now we even say that it’s okay to move into MGCQ. In moving to MGCQ, that does not mean that we will remove all the minimum health standards. That is a misconception. Everything else stays the same.

Moving to MGCQ will still require us to do the enforcement, isolating the positives, tracing, isolation, testing, and treatment. It’s still the same. Wala pa ring lalabas na symptomatics. Everyone will still wear the face masks and face shields. Business is the same. Disinfection, verification, lahat ‘yan it’s the same, kahit MGCQ. What I’m saying is that is the “New Normal.” Ang only difference in the modified GCQ is that we will be able to bring back more jobs, more workers, more sectors, the remaining sectors that are still closed. That’s the only difference.

In our estimate we still have 10% of unemployment, 10% of 44 million of job providers. 4.4 million, ‘yan ang wala pang trabaho. Kaya ang DTI at BOI are really pushing for an MGCQ or whatever CQ, as long as we keep the minimum health standards as the “New Normal” and the transmission will be controlled. Mali po ang sinasabi na ‘pag MGCQ lumuluwag, delikado. Kasi hindi naman natin luluwagan ang mga kilos natin. We still wear face mask and face shield in public transport and public places. Let me just repeat that para hindi mag-alala ang ating mga kababayan pati ang ating mga health workers.

We believe na ang ating mga kababayang Pilipino, they can practice self-regulation and self-discipline. After six months ba naman, hindi pa ba tayo natututo? I’m sure ang ating mga kababayan, matatalino. We have adjusted and we have learned to live with the virus. Ang tawag pa nga ngayon, we have learned to dance with the virus. Move back, move, forward, move back if needed. We’re not worried about transmission because it’s the same enforcement that we will maintain. I just want to emphasize that para hindi ma misinterpret.

Anyway, for today I would just like to zero in also in our local efforts to build our local domestic capacity. In DTI we are mandated to build industries, to promote trade and investments. Building industry is a challenge, especially if you are in an environment basically held with zero tariff duties on many products. We are working on localization and we welcome a lot of import products at almost zero duties. But once we are able to encourage local manufacturers and if the capacity is here, our recommendation is to use the local supply of the manufacturers. Rather than import where we save the jobs abroad, if we buy local, we save the jobs here and we generate jobs locally para sa ating mga kababayan. That’s the reason we wanted to build production capacity, relying less on imports. We build the capacity so that capacity will supply and meet the demand for a growing economy. That is why we’ve been pushing for Build, Build, Build to build local capacity of many products. And were really grateful to the CPMP group who heeded the call of the government.

At the start of the pandemic, we were practically zero production of many products needed to fight COVID. Just like in war, ang enemy natin ngayon is COVID and we need to build weapons to fight the virus. Unfortunately, when the pandemic started, we did not even have any local capacity. We were importing the face masks and PPEs required. It took us some time to meet the supply, whether imported or local.

From zero to hero. Zero ang dating capacity sa PPE, ngayon 3.2 million PPEs per month capacity thanks to our CPMP group. For face masks, dati isang exporter lang. I think we just had 2 million allocation at the time and of course, pinapaakyat natin sa 10 million per month. From 2 million, now we have about 56 million per month capacity. That’s just six months ago and now we have the capacity. That’s the importance of repurposing. That is all thanks to our private sector partners who heeded the call to repurpose to help us fight the war against COVID-19.

What we experienced during the height of the pandemic, even if we wanted to import, wala na gusto magbenta. Export restriction na sila, ayaw na mag-supply kahit saan outside their countries. There were only two or three countries that were allowing exports from their country to the Philippines. We had to be self-reliant. That was the idea. We have to build our own capacity.

There is the Bill proposed by Senator Gordon on strategic stockpiling. We have to build the capacity and eventually, make inventory always available, so that even after the pandemic and kung magkaroon man ng susunod, we have strategic products that are needed to fight the pandemic.

We would again like to thank CONWEP and now form another group, CPMP, and of course from our group the DTI team and BOI who really encouraged many of our local manufacturers to root for our cause. Nakisama sila at nakipagbayanihan. It’s really all about bayanihan when they heeded the call of government’s fight against COVID to rebuild industries and save jobs.

We were able to save 6,000 to 7,000 jobs because nagkaroon ng manufacturing activities in the country. Natanong ako ng Pangulo kung ito ba ay according sa standard. Ang sabi ko, sobra sobra sa standard. Lahat medical grade ang material. Lahat ng requirement ng ating mga PPEs passed the standard. Now, we are able to supply the requirements of private hospitals, as well as the government, the DOH, that is why inimbita din natin dito ang DOH, DBM so they can appreciate the quality and kind of product that we have. We are creating local manufacturers.

All things are equal—standard, prices of our products, and specs manufactured here will be lower than those imported. Our prices will be very competitive. With this capacity we will encourage the government, DOH and DBM, to look into these products. By the way, there might be companies or local manufacturers who are not part of CPMP, we will also promote them as long as they pass the standard and the meet the expectation of the hospital and our medical workers. What we need to do is really to ensure the protection of our front liners.

In closing, we would like to thank again CONWEP, and EMS, other members of CPMP for contributing in the nation’s fight for survival against COVID-19. In the midst of the “New Normal” wrought by the pandemic, we hope that you remain our partners in creating a “Better Normal” where all Filipinos do their part in nation-building.

This is what our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte likes as his vision to create a vibrant trade industry sector that is really inclusive. This is for all the workers lahat ng kababayan natin who make the growth and progress of our nation be more inclusive.

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. ♦

Date of Release: 25 September 2020