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Angara panel to bat for inventory of gov’t investments in productive sectors

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By Hannah Torregoza

The Senate finance committee is set to hold an inquiry regarding the implementation of the government’s programs on industrialization and employment-generation.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate finance panel, said the hearing aims to determine what the government has accomplished so far in terms of implementing these programs, which ones are working, and the steps needed to ensure its sustainability.

Sen. Sonny Angara (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sen. Sonny Angara
(FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Angara said he sees an urgent need to conduct an inventory of the investments government plans to make in the next five to 10 years for such initiatives covering information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO), tourism, creative industries, trade, manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries, logistics, shipping, research and development, and other productive sectors.

He said it is important to bolster Filipino or “Tatak Pinoy” productive sectors and encouraging inclusive growth across the country so that “small and medium businesses will have a greater chance to make it big, more jobs will be created for the people, and the Philippines will move closer towards becoming an industrialized country.”

In the upcoming inquiry, which would be held on Wednesday, Angara said the panel will go over the various items lodged under the P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2020 that are geared towards boosting productivity and generating employment.

Doing so will provide both Congress and the Executive branch valuable inputs for the crafting of the 2021 GAA and for future national budgets.

“We will assess whether such investments are in line with the constitutional mandate to promote industrialization and full employment; expand productivity; and sustain the increase in the goods and services produced by Filipino workers, craftsmen, artisans, creatives, entrepreneurs, professionals, scientists, and researchers,” Angara said.

“This will be a comprehensive review of everything the government is doing to help both our micro, small, and medium enterprises and industries in leveling up, not just to improve their bottom line, but to empower their communities by providing jobs and sustainable livelihood.”

The committee will examine, among others, programs that are under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) such as the shared services facilities, support for the Foreign Trade Service Corps, the establishment of more Negosyo Centers, continued implementation and improvement of the One Town, One Product and Go Lokal!; the launching of “Digital Philippines” for training entrepreneurs about e-commerce and Industry 4.0, implementation of Republic Act No. (RA) 11337 or the Innovative Start-up Act, and RA 11293 or the Philippine Innovation Act.

For the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the committee will look into the implementation of the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), and RA 11230 or the Tulong Trabaho Act.

Angara said the committee will, likewise, assess the implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which provides free college tuition in all state universities and colleges and select local universities and colleges.

Angara also said the panel will inquire into the status of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, the government internship program, DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DLIP), and JobStart Initiative.

The panel will also review the programs of the public employment service offices (PESO) across all local government units.

The finance panel, Angara said, will also scrutinize the Department of Agriculture’s banner programs for high value crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, rice and other staples; its agribusiness incubation program; agri-preneurship program; and the Young Farmers Program.

Also up for review would be the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) initiatives in promoting ICT literacy and supporting ICT industry, and the Department of Science and Technology’s research and development and technology transfer activities.

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