Ridgway Mayor Guillermo Udarbe and Consul General of the Philippines Mario De Leon Jr. and his staff attended a meeting with Congressman Glenn Thompson [PA-5] Wednesday afternoon at his office in Bellefonte to encourage sponsorship of a bill aimed to allow the duty-free entry of Philippine garments into the U.S.
Currently the bill, H.R. 2387, Save Our Industries Act, has 20 bipartisan cosponsors hoping to grant the duty-free entry of Philippine garments into the United States if the textiles and fabrics are made in the U.S.
Also discussed at the meeting were the Consul General's serious concerns about H.R. 3596: U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which Consul Zaldy B. Patron describes as a bill that will negatively impact the Philippines' call center industry, which now employs 350,000 Filipinos.
DeLeon Jr. said he also extended an invitation to Thompson to join the Philippines-U.S. Friendship Caucus, which aims to create a network of members in the U.S. Congress who are interested in the Philippines and who are concerned about Philippines-U.S. bilateral relations and to focus the domestic needs and concerns of the Filipino American community.
"We attended the meeting mainly to compete for a draft bill in the U.S. Congress right now," De Leon Jr. said. "It's about our Save Our Industries Act. This is a bill whose major sponsor is Congressman [Jim] McDermott of the state of Washington, but we have 20 other cosponsors, it's a pre-bill actually giving Philippine exports duty-free entry into the U.S. provided these garments use textiles or fabrics made in the U.S.
"It's a win-win situation for both countries and that was our message essentially to Congressman Thompson."
Pick up a copy of the Thursday, April 12, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.