PCCI urges bigger budget for DTI
(The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, wants the national government to allocate a bigger budget in the coming years to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), citing the agency’s significant role in stimulating the economy.

In an interview, PCCI president George Barcelon said the DTI should be given a much larger budget than what it has been given in recent years to function even more effectively, particularly in promoting the country as a trade and investment destination.

“I hope in the next administration, DTI should be given a bigger budget. If you look at the government allocation, the DTI is not exactly one of the darlings,” Barcelon said.

Based on the General Appropriations Act for 2016, the total new appropriations of the DTI stood at P4.2 billion, slightly higher than the P3.7 billion allocation last year.

The top 10 agencies receiving the largest budget this year are the Departments of Education, Public Works and Highways, National Defense, Interior and Local Government, Health, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Transportation and Communications, Finance, and Environment and Natural Resources.

“We are talking here about promotion, so how can you go out and fight if you do not have the bullets?” Barcelon said.

The PCCI president did not specify how much he thinks the DTI budget should increase, but noted that at least P1 billion annually should be allocated specifically for its international trade promotions and exhibitions.

“DTI should have the capacity and funds to help exporters to go out. But then at the same time, the industry should also do their homework. Once you go out and represent the country, you must make sure the products you represent are projecting the good image of the Philippines,” Barcelon said.

To ensure the budget to be used for trade missions would not be a waste of the taxpayers’ money, Barcelon suggested the additional government expenditures would have to come with specific targets and that the country’s exports of foreign direct investment figures should likewise go up.

By participating in big trade shows abroad, the Philippines gets to promote the country to investors as well as help local exporters reach new markets.

“In the past, there is this feeling that whenever there is a new administration, there would also be new people in the agencies. And when that happens, continuity is sacrificed so one of the areas that we need to focus is how to maintain that continuity. The potential buyers in other countries should know who to talk to and whatever they are presented with should be consistent,” Barcelon said.

The PCCI has already assured its support for newly appointed DTI Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr. and the first chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission, Arsenio Balisacan.

Barcelon said Cristobal are champions of a competitive, sustainable, and inclusive environment and “will bring about new significant milestones while carrying out the critical programs and initiatives instituted by DTI in the past six years.”

Barcelon, meanwhile, lauded Balisacan’s efforts in the National Economic and Development Authority in uplifting the face of the Philippine economy through his expertise and dedicated brand of public service.

He said the PCCI looks forward to a continuing partnership with the Philippine Competition Commission for “a comprehensive competition law that will promote a fair and level playing field through market competition.”

 

ACIRC ARSENIO BALISACAN BARCELON DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION DTI ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT GEORGE BARCELON INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PHILIPPINE COMPETITION COMMISSION
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