Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday backed a "Buy Filipino" campaign to save jobs even as he chided the administration for failing to perk up the economy with its much-vaunted 330-billion peso stimulus spending package.
"If we can't create jobs because of the worsening economic crisis, the least we can do is to contain job losses among our workers. One effective way is for our people to patronize locally-made products," he said.
The "Buy Pinoy – Buy Local" campaign will be launched on June 10 by a group led by the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Philippine Industries.
The 39-year old Escudero also pointed out that the manufacturing sector continues to be in decline. He cited the 19.9 percent drop in volume and the sharp decline in all manufacturing sectors.
He said that while the government has adopted a de facto "migration for development policy" by encouraging the export of labor, it should not neglect efforts to revive the manufacturing sector.
The economy grew by an anemic 0.4 percent in the first quarter, casting doubts on the government's revised projections of 3.1 to 4.1 percent economic growth for 2009. Unemployment, on the other hand, widened to 7.8 percent from 7.4 percent.
"Our first quarter economic performance exposes the failure of the government stimulus plan. The Economic Resiliency Plan was supposed to perk up the economy, the opposite happened, it flat-lined. Government spending was token, tepid, and timid," Escudero said.
"Instead of frontloading, the administration held back. This has raised suspicions that it will pour most of these funds in the last quarter to boost the chances of its candidates in the 2010 elections," Escudero said.