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Govt to lobby for garments with same fervor before US Congress
Oct '09
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said government will lobby for the garment industry with as much fervor as it did for war veterans before the US Congress.

“We are lobbying for the early passage of House Resolution 3039 with the same fervor with which we lobbied for Filipino World War II veterans' benefits,” the President said in a high-level meeting of the Philippine Garments and Textile Association held at the Davao Room of the Sofitel Hotel this afternoon.

“Just as the US was finally receptive to the plight of Filipino veterans of World War II, we also hope it will be sympathetic to the needs of Philippine garment makers who have supplied the US market for so many years because it is a formula that will also help the US textile manufacturers,” she added.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was passed by the US Congress on Feb. 14 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 17 as part of the US government stimulus package, grants a one-time lump-sum payment of $15,000 for each US-based Filipino WWII veteran and $9,000 for those living in the Philippines.

House Resolution 3039 or The Save our Industries Act of 2009 was filed by American Rep. James McDermott (D-Washington) before the US Congress last June 25, 2009. Under the proposed bill, the Philippines, a former American colony, will be given preferential duty treatment to certain apparel articles sold to the United States.

HR 3039 is currently being deliberated by the US Committee on Ways and Means.

When enacted into law, Philippine garment manufacturers will be allowed to import and use American textiles for eventual shipment back to the United States as finished garments under the cut-and-sew concept. This will allow Philippine garment exports to enter the US duty-free instead of pay the standard 30 percent to 40 percent tariff.

“Let your industry and our government and our friends in the US textile industry pour all our dedication and talent into the common and noble effort,” she added.

In an interview, Confederation of Garment Exporters of the Philippines (CONGEP) president Laurence Delos Santos underscored the importance of getting HR 3039 passed into a law saying the Save Act could double the total garment revenue earned in 2008 which was pegged at US$2-billion.

He added that the industry would also increase employment by 300,000 in a span of three years.

“What is needed now is for the Philippine government to push our friends in the US-- US congressmen and senators-- to pass HR 3039 into law, “Delos Santos said.

Office of the President

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