Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to intensify its efforts to bring multinational companies that are planning to move out of China.

“I do not see enough efforts being done, as compared with our neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, to win over the biggest companies moving out from China to relocate into the country,” Drilon said in a statement.

Drilon was reacting to reports stating the Philippines lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of efforts to lure investors leaving China, including the biggest multinational firms from Japan and the United States.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI) earlier said that the Japanese manufacturing companies in China consider first Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand due to supply chain, resources, and raw material production.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez admitted during a Senate hearing that there are some companies that will move into the country from China, but that they are not the biggest companies.

Drilon said that the government “cannot afford a laid-back attitude” and should seize the opportunity “immediately” by devicing “a more aggressive strategy” to woo these companies to relocate to the Philippines.

“We should reach out to them. These investments will help our economy heavily battered by this pandemic,” he said adding that these investments would “provide jobs and livelihood opportunities to Filipinos who lost jobs due to the pandemic.”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier estimated that around five million Filipinos would lose their jobs due to the pandemic.

Drilon suggests amendments to the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Act to help lure companies into the country.  The senator believed that the restrictive requirements of both laws impede foreign investments in the country.

Drilon has authored measures to amend the said laws.  (Rommel F. Lopez)