NINE out of 10 Filipinos believe that the government should support the Philippine manufacturing sector, saying it has the capacity to accelerate the growth of the country’s economy, according to a recent Pulse Asia survey commissioned by international think tank Stratbase ADR Institute.
The nationwide survey, conducted from March 15 to 19 with 1,200 respondents, showed that 89 percent of Filipinos agree that the government should support the local manufacturing sector.
Majority or 62 percent of Filipinos believe local manufacturing activities can contribute to economic growth through creating livelihood opportunities for local service businesses needed to support manufacturing operations.
At least 62 percent also noted that the manufacturing sector can contribute to the economy by making goods more affordable and accessible to Filipino consumers.
Meanwhile, half of Filipinos or 50 percent said they also believe the manufacturing sector increases local and foreign investment that will generate more quality jobs and employment opportunities. Moreover, the survey showed that 49 percent believe the sector produces more products for the local and export market.
With these economic benefits, the survey respondents identified actions the government should take to spur the growth of manufacturing and other industries.
Sixty-one percent of Filipinos cited a need to provide opportunities for training to workers to upgrade or learn new work skills; 50 percent believe there is a need to provide more incentives that are competitive with other countries, and 45 percent believe there is a need to develop more economic zones.
Through the government’s lens, Rafaelita M. Aldaba, Undersecretary for the Competitiveness and Innovation Group of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the manufacturing sector “has always been a priority” for the government. But, she said, the government has adopted a “more targeted” approach in terms of the specific sectors that it is promoting.
Aldaba unveiled the four clusters. These are: Industrial, Manufacturing and Transport (IMT) which focuses on automotive and electric vehicles and parts manufacturing, among others; Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) which is focused on the IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) and creative economy, among others; Health and Life Sciences which focuses on pharmaceuticals and medical devices, among others, and Modern Basic Needs, Resilient Economy which puts a spotlight on food security, agriculture, education, fishing, among others.
The trade official also underscored the importance of the menu of incentives enclosed in the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law, a fiscal stimulus for businesses.
“The more high-tech the activity is, the higher the incentive and at the same time the farther away the activity is from NCR and other urban areas, the higher the incentives that will be provided,” Aldaba explained at the online forum, “Reinvigorating the Philippine Manufacturing Sector for Job Creation” organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute on Tuesday.
She said this menu of incentives is “important for us to achieve our inclusive development goal that we would be able to provide more jobs, more investments and in particular we want this to go to the regions.”
For his part, Stratbase ADR Institute President Dindo Manhit said with firms now having their “moving capacity at prepandemic levels,” there is a need for investments in the manufacturing sector to meet the growing demands of consumers.
“Investments in the manufacturing sector will lead to a domino effect that will increase productivity, create high-quality jobs, provide income and food security, enable the affordability of goods, and spur consumer spending. But then again, setting up a manufacturing operation requires a significant investment in infrastructure, workforce, and knowledge capital,” Manhit added.
Pulse Asia released the survey results on Tuesday during the online forum organized by Stratbase.