PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Sr. plans to increase the export of Filipino brands and broaden the selection of locally manufactured products if he is elected next year.

During a forum by the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands’ (CCPI) on Friday, Mr. Pacquiao said that he hopes to see Philippine brands supply the globe by promoting local products both domestically and internationally, adding that imports should be lessened.

The Philippines should be known for its own brand, he said, which he believed was possible given the large number of experts in the country; however, the problem is that the skilled are being pirated by other countries, he said.

“Corruption is still the root cause,” he said, noting that if there is no corruption, these Filipinos would not have left because the country would have thrived.

The forum discussed the CCPI’s Economic Compass Pillars 5 (EComP5) which includes industries and businesses as its second pillar, and global competitiveness as its goal.

The presidential aspirant supported the CCPI’s plans, which intended to prioritize locally owned companies and brands over foreign businesses and imports. It also aims to expand Filipino equity and ownership, as well as better connect the country’s islands.

Mr. Pacquiao also said that he seeks to support businesses to strengthen employment.

“The focus should not be centered only on large businesses, but also the micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses,” he said in Filipino. “The governments should look at businesses equally, with no favoritism.”

By strengthening smaller businesses, he added, those without a college diploma will have more chances of employment with less risk of discrimination.

The presidential aspirant said that he would ensure “everyone will have jobs or sustainable income and livelihood” while being assured of meals three times a day.

Also at the same forum, Mr. Pacquiao said that if he wins, he will not be bullied by China amid the West Philippine Sea disputes. His aim is to have a proper dialogue to resolve all the problems regarding China’s claims. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan