Press Release
March 3, 2013

Cayetano pushes for increased government support for local shoe industry

"Huwag nating maliitin ang gawang Pinoy (Let us not underestimate products that are made in the Philippines)," Senator Alan Cayetano declared after hearing from Valentino shoe factory workers in Marikina City regarding the dwindling demand for locally made shoes.

"Para sa kanila, ang mga sapatos na gawa nila ay hindi lang mga produktong ibinebenta. Katibayan ito ng kalidad ng produktong Pinoy. Nagaalala sila dahil nakikita nila ang unti-unting pagliit ng kanilang industriya dahil sa mga mas murang imported na produkto. Naghahanap sila ng sagot sa problemang ito. Kailangan natin silang tulungan. (For these men and women, the shoes they make aren't just a product sent to market, they are a source of pride and a testament to the quality of Filipino products. They are worried because they have seen their industry shrink before their eyes while cheaper imports flood the market, and they are seeking answers. We must do more.)," he said.

Cayetano proposed that the government should give more support to local industries and their products - the shoe industry, in this case - to enable them to compete on equal footing with imported products. "With proper government support, we can show the world that Filipino products are world class," he said.

He noted that in the Marikina shoe industry alone, the drops in the amount of manufacturers and workers over the years have been alarming. "From 104,800 jobs available and 513 manufacturers operating in the area in 1994, these have dropped to 42,300 jobs and 188 manufacturers in 2003, and finally to less than 6,000 jobs and just 31 manufacturers in 2011," he said.

He explained that proper government support would revive dying local industries and consequently generate more jobs. "The more people buy locally produced products, the more jobs we generate," he said.

Cayetano said that this could be done through the promotion of the one town, one product scheme - a project that Congress can concretize by regionalizing government power to give incentives to local industry owners. "It's a mixture of attitude and economics. And it's entirely solvable given the right government support," he said.

He also said that the country should listen to its investors to identify the specific areas of improvement in the country's local industries. "We have to listen to what our investors have to say so we know what areas we need to improve on," he said.

Cayetano said that anyone who blames Filipinos for this trend is missing the mark, given basic economics. "You can't blame Filipinos who buy cheaper imported goods. Those products are cheaper because the local governments where those products come from support the production of the said goods. We lack that here," he said.

In this regard, Cayetano was quick to laud Marikina City Mayor Del De Guzman for his initiatives to support the local shoe-making industry and encouraged other local government units (LGUs) to follow his lead. "This only shows that with proper government support, local industries can be given the chance to survive. But LGUs cannot do it alone, they need support from the national government," he said.

Cayetano launched his reelection campaign by embarking on a nationwide tour to discuss the concerns of the various sectors of Philippine society related to PiTiK: Presyo, Trabaho, Kita. He is set to visit Cagayan de Oro next to talk to the victims of Typhoon Sendong.

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