HANDICRAFT exporters have reiterated their appeal to the government to deregulate certain chemicals used in the manufacture of their products, saying their industry’s survival depends on the availability of these substances.
Floro Salinas, proprietor of FNDG Shells and Handicrafts based in Batangas, sought the help of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) in asking the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to deregulate the use of muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
In 2015, the PNP added 41 chemicals to its master list of regulated substances as part of counter-terrorism measures. To use the listed chemicals, companies must first secure a permit from the PNP to import, handle, or transport them.
“These two chemicals are most commonly used by our small handicraft business owners and should be available at most convenient markets, as it was before, for them to continue their way of living and for the handicraft industry to survive,” Salinas said in an e-mail on Friday to Ma. Flordeliza Leong, PhilExport assistant vice president for advocacy and communications.
Salinas had already raised the issue with PhilExport in February last year. In his email to PhilExport last Friday, he said an added burden has come up with the new set of requirements for registering or renewing a business permit that is now imposed by local governments.
“[Small handicraft makers] have been having too much problem with our production using hydrogen peroxide. Our suppliers informed us that to purchase even a liter of hydrogen peroxide requires [a]PNP permit,” Salinas said.
He said that given the restrictions, some retailers have simply stopped selling because “they do not care to apply for the PNP permit.”
As a result, small handicraft suppliers have had to turn down job orders involving these chemicals, he said.
Salinas said he had to cease production of capiz products because of the supply problem. “This year, our product development does not include capiz and other bleached items using hydrogen peroxide,” he said.
Most handicraft suppliers are forced to get their supply of hydrogen peroxide from the black market, which charges as much as 200 percent more, he continued.
“For the small handicraft industry, this deregulation is oppression, a sabotage against our small legal ways of earning a living. We understand the problem that our PNP is facing but we are not convinced and cannot accept that we are part of the solution they [are thinking of in order]to solve their problem,” Salinas added.
He appealed to the government to simplify business requirements to support micro, small and medium enterprises development.
“Doing business is one noble thing a citizen can do and I just feel the burden that our micro and small entrepreneurs have to pass before going into business.”