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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Proudly Phl-made

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Proudly Phl-made

Entrepreneurs will welcome the signing of the Tatak Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) Act, which provides financing and incentives to local producers of quality goods. In signing Republic Act 11981 yesterday, President Marcos said the new law “is about investing in Filipino competence and talent.” Apart from providing “true, tangible support” to Filipino “genius and gift,” he said RA 11981 also aims to promote excellence and “great workmanship.”

Those are encouraging words from the nation’s highest official. Among other things, RA 11981 gives Tatak Pinoy enterprises access to low-interest or flexible loans, credit guarantees, venture capital, lease agreements and other forms of financing from government financial institutions. “Green lanes” will be provided to spare such enterprises from red tape. Value-added tax refunds will be expedited. A multi-agency advisory Tatak Pinoy Council will assist the enterprises in marketing their products both domestically and overseas.

Entrepreneurs can only hope that there will be no significant gap in the laudable provisions of RA 11981 and their implementation, which is often the case in many laws passed in this country. Merely vetting the enterprises that will qualify for the priority treatment provided under the new law could become problematic, especially if politicians and other influential groups meddle in the selection. If the program does not become yet another resource for political patronage and influence peddlers don’t ruin the objectives, RA 11981 will be a boon especially for startups.

It speaks volumes about the quality of governance and Philippine society in general, however, that such a law needed to be passed. Supporting local enterprises and promoting excellence are supposed to go without saying, and should be among the principal tasks of both national and local governments. The biggest and most advanced economies have been doing this for a long time.

Also, if the government is serious in investing in Filipino competence and talent, it should tackle the crisis in education, which is producing students with weak reading comprehension and competencies in mathematics and science. Competence and talent are developed from an early age. Great workmanship is best nurtured from childhood.

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