PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed into law on Monday a priority bill seeking to improve the export competitiveness of Philippine companies.

Republic Act No. 11981 or the Tatak Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) law, is “about incubating and incentivizing great products that deserve to carry the ‘made in the Philippines’ trademark,” Mr. Marcos said in a speech at the Palace signing ceremony. 

The law encourages companies to produce “higher quality” and higher value-added products, to elevate the Philippines’ position in the global value chain, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The new law sets up a council that will be tasked with creating a multi-year strategy for exports. It will be involved in upgrading skills, infrastructure, technology and innovation, as well as attracting investment and promoting sound financial management among export enterprises.

The Tatak Pinoy council will be chaired by the secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority, with the Finance and Trade secretaries as co-vice chairs.

The council’s members are to include the Secretaries of Agriculture, Budget, Education, Information and Communications Technology, Labor, Public Works, Science and Technology, and Tourism.

Merchandise exports dropped 7.6% to $73.52 billion in 2023, reversing the 6.5% growth posted a year prior.

“Big and small industries will be encouraged to innovate in order to produce higher-value products that are sought after by bigger markets and will result in greater incomes for them,” Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, a co-author of the bill, said in a statement.

He said the multi-year strategy will work with the education system to prepare students for innovation and making businesses technology-driven, thereby improving the value proposition of their goods and services.

The Senate passed the bill on third and final reading in November. A counterpart bill in the House was approved in December. 

The law is designed “to systematically and incrementally expand and diversify the productive capacities of enterprises,” Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr., one of the bill’s authors, said in a statement.

“All government procurement activities under the TPS shall give preference to domestically produced and manufactured goods, supplies and materials which meet the specified or desired quality,” he said.

“The DTI shall certify that such goods, supplies and materials are grown, produced or manufactured in the Philippines.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza