With Congress set to ratify the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), House Minority Leader Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. on Sunday urged the government to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, and other paraphernalia that are locally manufactured, in line with provisions of Bayanihan 2.
Abante lamented reports that the government has been procuring cheap but substandard PPE from China despite the availability of locally-manufactured PPE that meet international testing and certification standards.
The lawmaker pointed out that “as a general rule, our procurement laws require us to buy the cheapest available products so long as they hew to particular specifications.”
“However, in this case, we have to consider two things: first, the safety of our healthcare workers (HCWs), and second, the need to prioritize and patronize locally-manufactured products in order to spur economic activity,” said Abante.
Abante said Congress recognizes the importance of helping local manufacturers, which is why it included provisions that explicitly state preference for local products.
Section 4 (t) of Bayanihan 2 states that with regard to the procurement of PPEs by the national government through the DOH, “preference and incentives shall be given to medical safety products that are locally manufactured.” Bayanihan 2 allots three billion pesos for the procurement of face masks, face shields and PPEs.
Abante stressed that “the country will benefit many times over if we use those funds to procure internationally-certified, locally-produced PPEs.”
“Doing so would be a win-win for us; not only do we guarantee the safety of our heroic HCWs, we also aid local manufacturers who employ Filipino workers. We will be able to save Filipino lives and support the livelihood of Filipinos,” he added.
The solon from Manila added that the government should send a “clear and unequivocal signal that it supports local industries.”
“Sinasabi ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), buy local, tapos ang gobyerno, bumibili ng PPE galing China. The government even asked asked local manufacturers in March to repurpose their facilities in order to make medical grade PPEs,” said Abante.