Tuesday, 25 April 2017

"The desire to bring back the industrial sector"

"The desire to bring back the manufacturing sector"

(Or "Notes after Rafael Alunan Sr's message,
and the desire to revive national industry)

At first, this post may find its message "idealistic" especially in an era of modern gadgets and of service-oriented economy. But, in a still-developing society yet rich in natural resources, one of the most important and immediate concerns of the country is the need to revisit, revive, and reemphasise the manufacturing sector as one of the important foundations of the national industry.

For the fact that the country needs basic industries to utilise natural resources and relieve unemployment, the revival of the manufacturing sector also means to stabilise trade and practically to promote genuine domestic-based development in spite of its long overdue.

But in spite of criticisms, of disapprovals, of favouring unbridled free trade and exploitation of raw materials for exports, national industrialisation continues to be demanded by the concerned. Also to think that the country has enjoyed some of the benefits of most modern trade agreements, disregarding the manufacturing sector, what more of agriculture, is equal to an unjust domestic maldevelopment. The trade agreements everyone sees as "developmental" are the same agreements that is, exploitative than beneficial in its very nature, it is the same agreements that pushes people to unemployment due to low wages and system's failure to alleviate, while the countryside, in spite of being exploited for export, remains underdeveloped.
If these agreements means stability, is the actually existing maldevelopements in the country and others in the "third world" be redescribed as progress under 21st century trade-centred, multi/transnational finance-oriented capitalism?

Anyway, the drive to revive, rehabilitate, and seriously giving concern on both manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the society was and is more than a showcase of national pride in a way the first bars of steel has to be shown out in national television. It is a necessity to reemphasise production all to promote national development and also to recultivate honest labour as a national virtue. Efforts to create good quality import substitutes means meeting the demands of many to ensure their daily needs with affordable prices and to utilise responsibly the both the country's natural resources and labour power that is greatly needed to ensure the nation's well-being.

In a message made last November 4, 1942, Commissioner Rafael Alunan sr., representing agriculture and commerce during the Japanese occupation stated that:

"More and more, the production of essential commodities is being increased to replace finished products that had to be imported formerly. Among the goods now being turned out by factories to replace the old imports are cassava flour, corn flour, rice flour, in substitution for wheat flour; alcohol for motive power to replace gasoline; cleanser, toilet soap, canned goods, etc. 

The production of toilet soap has been expanded to an appreciable extent, and filter mats made of coir are being manufactured to be used by soap and lard factories in lieu of asbestos. Some 1,500 local factories operating in Manila and in nearby provinces are now engaged on the processing and manufacturing of goods for everyday use, such as flour, starch, soap, matches, preserved fish, chocolate, coffee, biscuits, and other foodstuffs, etc. This is an encouraging indication of the significant changes in the phases of Philippine industries."

The message seemed to be optimistic in spite of the wartime atmosphere wherein the emphasis was on stability and of survival; but, in seeing that kind of setting one would describe it as a chance to reemphasise domestic-based development through creating import substitutes and investing on domestic sciences.
It may sound strange to put a wartime message in this present-day setting, but reality goes something that way: the need to bring back, support, uplift, redevelop local industries to resolve unemployment, to utilise natural resources and domestic skill, and to create good quality products to ensure the needs of the people.

But that desire for domestic-based development is more than a set of papers and feelings, it requires action, the more assertions the more chances of changing existing policies to those that cater to the needs of many, especially the concerned sectors such as labor, peasant, and small scale businesses desiring for a sound economic policy that is, genuinely developmental, patriotic, scientific, and progressive.
And in it also means campaigns to stir production, rationalising industries, and improving the order of distribution; as well as to create more/maintain existing foundations to generate rural-and-urban based developments, of building cooperatives and protecting/improving small and medium scale businesses, all enough to accelerate the process of industrialisation that has to achieve.

And knowing that industrial revival is more than just a state responsibility, it is itself a social one especially if one desires a progressive country. It is the work of all whose concern for the country means a demand to break from present-day inequalities to a desire for a country capable to stand on its own feet leading to its path to its idealised progress and stability.
For as what Alunan said:

"On their shoulders rests the responsibility of complementing the work of the government in carrying out is industrial development program, and in building up a sound and stable economic foundation for the new Philippines."