Gov’t urged to manufacture own firearms, build ships to generate employmentBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – In order to strengthen the manufacturing sector and help generate employment, the country should start manufacturing its own firearms and building its own ships, a senator said Tuesday.
“Let’s favour our local enterprises and support Filipino entrepreneurs who are already making great strides in this endeavour,” Senator Ralph Recto, chairman of the Senate’s ways and means committee and senior national defense and security panel member, said in a statement.
Recto said that there was an existing firearm-making industry in the country which only needs assistance from the government. He urged government to purchase and arm uniformed security services with locally-made firearms.
Recto said that the government must help local producers as per mandated by the Constitution in Article 12, Section 12 which states: “The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive.”
Armscor, an all-Filipino company, is engaged in manufacturing firearms and also has a manufacturing agreement to make Tanfoglio Force 99 gun for the Italian gun-maker Fratelli Tanfonglio.
Recto added that government economic managers projected $10-billion in annual foreign direct investments for the local fire-arm manufacturing industry under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and this could make the country as a manufacturing hub for firearms.
“If we are already No. 4 in shipbuilding, why can’t we produce our Navy and Coast Guard vessels? We also have a robust small firearm industry, why can’t we use them for our uniformed security personnel? Why import firearms when we can have our own?” he stressed.
Armscor recently participated in the bidding for the firearm purchase of the Philippine National Police but lost to a foreign-led supplier. Recto noted that the difference in price may be due to the tax treatment and electricity costs incurred by the local producer.
Aside from boosting the local firearm industry, the National Economic and Development Authority should also beef up the navy and coast guard fleet with locally manufactured patrol ships and gunboats, Recto said.
He added that in the President’s state of the nation address last week, he promised to improve the country’s Navy and this could be used as an opportunity to generate employment by building ships.