Press Release
May 11, 2023

Inclusivity, innovation, futures outlook must be integrated in the bill establishing shared service facilities for MSMEs - Pia

Highlights of the interpellation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano on SB No. 2021, which seeks to institutionalize Shared Service Facilities (SSF) for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Senate Session, May 10, 2023

Thank you, Mr. President, Majority Floor Leader.

I will pose a series of questions. His honor (Sen Edgardo 'Sonny' Angara) is free to respond and even tell me that we can take it up during the period of amendments. Because really, they are just clarificatory, I fully support the measure, your honors.

Just to start, to put on record, my interest here is as your Chairman of the Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking.

SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth. There are very specific targets that really are aimed at achieving higher levels of economic productivity, promoting development-oriented policies that support productive activities, having targets that substantially reduce the proportion of youth that are not employed, and devising and implementing policies that promote sustainable tourism, which is big in our country.

And then under SDG 9 on Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, increase the access of small-scale industries and other enterprises, enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capacities of industrial sectors, and so on and so forth.

So that is what I am starting with because this bill is in line with these SDGs, your honor.

And I'd like to take off from what I heard from the [Minority Floor Leader Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III's) interpellation. The Minority Floor Leader was mentioning the actual scope, that's my understanding, of the bill. Ano bang klaseng facilities ito? And I tend to agree with his honor, because as an advocate of futures thinking, the future is really changing very, very rapidly. So I would suggest that DTI gives us a description that addresses the concern of the Minority Floor Leader, but is open-ended. Because what is patok na patok today may not be in demand tomorrow. So I would have a hard time if his honor graduates in two years, leaving us with a bill that is not reflective of the demands in the next three years. So that is my first input, your honor. And I will take that as a yes if you do not have any objections to my statement.

And then, the other concern I have, again, is somehow connected to the questions propounded earlier, on the capacity of each of these facilities. I understand the concern of the Minority Floor Leader that we would want to ensure that the community has access. But it is for DTI, your honor, I believe, to also be clear about what is the capacity. Because, let's just say, all of us have gone to countries and we are all promoting OTOP, di ba? Tapos naglagay ang DTI ng banana manufacturing facility, lahat gusto pumunta doon. Tapos makakatanggap ang office ni Sen. Angara...[ng concern na] hindi ho kami pinapasok doon, hindi ho prinocess ang mga saging namin. Eh kasi there is such a thing as maximum capacity, diba? So dapat liwanagin natin lahat yan para hindi magalit ang mga tao because it's one thing to say na open yan sa lahat, walang idi-discriminate. Pero masisira naman ang makina na yan kapag hindi niyo pinatigil.

And I go to my next concern. I am very happy that we are availing the expertise and facilities of the SUCs. But not all of them have open space or even roofs to hold these facilities. So may kasama bang budget yan? Because I assume, para umiksi na ang ating interpellation, I assume naman all of this was studied. But again, I am saying, I handle the budget of SUCs, and ultimately it's the sponsor who will approve my recommendations, siguro we have to be prepared for that, because the demand for this will grow. It's a great project, but let's just be prepared not just for the equipment, but the facilities that will house that equipment.

(Senator Angara responds)

Your honor, I will remind you, many of us here who supported the simulation lab of PGH, it is really a futures project. Ang tagal ho niyan na-FLR (for later release), and then inulit pa natin ang second phase ng budget noon, the next year, andoon pa rin tayo sa first phase, kasi na-FLR na naman siya sa first phase. I am just saying, your honor, and I'd like to illustrate, ito yung parang imbes na a real body, a human cadaver is being used to train our future doctors, it is now a simulator. Even panganganak, pwede. But it wasn't cheap.

Anyway, after we funded it, of course after that, andoon na ang [maintenance and other operating expenses], [personnel services], andoon lahat yun, nakatago lahat yun. Nanganganak ang gastos, which kayo rin naman ang mamo-mroblema eventually.

So I am just being very mindful, let's be clear about the expenses because we want to support this.

And last point, many of you and I have been invited to the fairs and exhibits in SUCs or even private universities. It's amazing what you see there, but then you go there five years later and yun pa rin ang exhibit. There is this huge gap between innovation and transitioning to production. So, perhaps his honor can just give a very short reply to this. But I assume already the answer is yes, this bill attempts to address that because precisely kaya ka nga may manufacturing para we can go from innovation to manufacturing.

But I note with pride that there is this second paragraph in Section 1: Fabrication Lab, or Fab Labs, which is the higher end. And this is where it's very critical kasi dyan tayo nahihirapan. I'd love basic facilities to manufacture and have longer shelf life for kamote, banana, and other fruit products we have, durian, langka, lahat yan. Pero yung Fab Lab talaga is another level, yung mga tipong prosthetics (the making and fitting of artificial body parts), exactly the ones you pointed out in your presentation. And my point being is makita na talaga natin na we are manufacturing prosthetics. Do we have such a thing? I know we have, I just don't know how high end. I imagine there are many others out there. So I used that example because I come across that quite a bit. And it would be great if we can have more of this available. If not, we can include that in the list.

(Senator Angara responds)

Thank you. Your honor, I'll end by requesting to be a co-author of this measure.

Sorry, one last point. In the second paragraph of Section 1, it refers to the priority of going to provinces without existing Fab Labs. So I think it goes without saying, and I also want to protect DTI, that It's like Doktor Para sa Bayan. We'll point out areas na walang medical school. Pero hindi naman makapkapagtayo ng medical school doon dahil walang ospital kung saan magte-training ang mga doktor. Walang partner hospital ang medical school l, and there aren't even enough allied professionals. Hindi naman pwedeng lahat ng doktor nila galing sa nursing. You want a pool of doctors that have diverse backgrounds. So I am just saying the same thing na we might want to check the wording of that as 'priority,' but also based on what the demands are.

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