Drilon challenges DTI to ‘seize’ opportunity, boost efforts to lure major firms moving out of China
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should boost its efforts to lure multinational companies planning to move out of China amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Minority Franklin Drilon said Friday.
Drilon issued the call as he expressed concern over reports that the Philippines is lagging behind in terms of efforts to woo investors leaving China, including major firms from Japan and the United States, as compared to other Southeast Asian countries.
“I do not see enough efforts being done, as compared with our neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, to win over the biggest companies moving out from China to relocate into the country,” the senator said in a statement.
“This is an opportunity that we should seize immediately. The competition is tough. We cannot afford a laid-back attitude especially in this most trying time in our history as a nation,” he added.
He said the DTI should “reach out” to the said companies as he noted that potential investments from these firms “will help our economy heavily battered by this pandemic.”
Drilon said that the government should device “a more aggressive strategy” to woo these companies to relocate to the Philippines.
“Ang nakakalungkot ay yung mga tira-tira na lang ang napupunta sa atin. Hindi tayo kulelat kasi may maliliit na negosyong mapupunta sa atin.I do not think that that is the proper way to look at it,” he said.
Drilon noted that the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI) had earlier said that Japanese manufacturing companies in China are looking to relocate their production to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand due to supply chain, resources, and raw material production.
“The reality is, we need investments more than ever for our economy to recover from this COVID-19 disease and to provide jobs and livelihood opportunities to Filipinos who lost jobs due to the pandemic,” Drilon said.
This as he noted that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had estimated that around five million Filipinos would lose jobs due to the health crisis.
“Tell us the stumbling blocks we are facing here and if concerns legislation, Congress will fix it,” Drilon said.
The senator said that among the legislative measures that would help attract companies into the Philippines are bills seeking to amend the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Act.
Drilon said the “restrictive” requirements of both laws “impede” foreign investments in the country.
Senate Bill No. 13 seeks to limit the definition of public utility while opening up other public services to the market while Senate Bill No. 14 seeks to further relax foreign restrictions by removing investment categories and setting an across the board minimum paid-up capital investment of US$200,000.
Drilon, who authored the twin economic measures, then urged the government to include his two measures as priority legislation.
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