To avert shortages arising from disasters such as the reported shortages of supplies in different parts of the globe due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scare, Senator Richard Gordon reiterated the need for the government to stockpile on strategic supplies.
Gordon reiterated this during the continuation of the hearing conducted by the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises on Senate Bill No. 1347 which seeks to amend the charter of the Philippine International Trading Corporation in order to empower it to handle the proposed stockpiling.
“Ang amendment dito ay in-empower natin iyong PITC na maghandle ng strategic and critical supplies para sa ganun mayroon tayong gamit hindi katulad ngayon na nauubusan tayo ng masks. Naubusan tayo ng PPEs, naubusan tayo ng gamot. So, ang gagawin dito palaging mayroon silang stocks,” he said.
Gordon said that the bill is about intelligence gathering, not against any human enemy but against the enemy of man which is “basically sloth, lack of vision and no forward thinking, and bahala na attitude.”
Gordon, who chairs the committee, said the PITC’s capital stock would be increased, adding that the they will consider increasing to P5-billion the P1-billion proposed by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez to ensure sufficient stocks of necessary supplies but the senator also pointed to the need for regular assessment of threats and inventory of stocks such as face masks, personal protective equipment, long shelf-life food like canned goods and rice, medicines, and blood bags, to name a few.
He also explained that the bill authorizes the PITC to create warehouses in strategic places, like what other countries do, or make arrangements with manufacturers for the storage of the procured supplies.
“The idea is to preposition the equipment and strategic supplies so that when we need it, it’s out right away. And hindi iyong kakapa-kapa tayo,” Gordon, who authored the bill, stressed./Stacy Ang