SEN. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he would harness the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector to boost the emerging leather tanning industry on the Zamboanga Peninsula if he becomes president in May.
The senator and independent presidential candidate made the vow on March 30 during his visit to Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, with former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, one of the senatorial candidates of the Lacson- Sotto.
During a public meeting, Piñol revealed that researchers from the Philippine Coconut Authority had developed a new coloring material from the natural resins found in coconut palms, which they used for tanning leather.
“It was the first time I had heard of it, for leather tanning, a coloring matter for leather and textile products. It’s a new breakthrough, but for some it’s nothing. ‘Oh, you discovered that? So what?’ This is what the government is supposed to support and stimulate right now,” Piñol said.
Lacson agreed, saying the domestic leather tanning industry should be marketed overseas, especially in Europe where many people consume leather products.
He said the government can probably access the European market, which outsources tanning services from Africa.
“For example, in Italy there are a lot of leather products there, right? And if they got their tanning materials from us, our coconut farmers would definitely benefit, because they are derived from coconuts. These are opportunities that we’ve been missing due to lack of government support,” Lacson said.
Lacson said investment in the MSME and research and development (R&D) sectors were among the priorities under his administration.
The senator said this was not just a campaign promise on his part, as he was injecting funds for these industries in his capacity as a senator.
“It’s not a promise, we’ve done it before because we are real advocates for research and development. Just like what I said, every year I was increasing the budget [for R&D] – every year,” he pointed out.
Lacson and Piñol campaigned on the Zamboanga Peninsula this week to advance their good governance agenda with Lacson’s running mate, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto, 3rd, and Senate candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla .