Salceda calls for boycott of China-made products
- Paolo Romero () - June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Albay Gov. Joey Salceda called on all Filipinos yesterday to unite and boycott China-made products in response to Beijing’s bullying of the Philippines in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

“The ordinary people of the Philippines will rise to the challenge of duty and destiny to resolve our national predicament: Let us boycott made in China products, buy Filipino. Let us hurt them where it counts,” Salceda, an economist and close political ally of President Aquino, said in a strongly worded speech delivered in front of the Albay provincial capitol in commemoration of the Philippines’ 113th Independence Day yesterday.

 “Rightly or wrongly, military provocation is not an option as national response, whether tactical or strategic, to the naked belligerence of foreign powers in the West Philippine Sea – not only threatening our national sovereign territory but also bringing shame to our dignity as a race and as a nation,” he said, reacting to reports on the repeated intrusions and harassments of Chinese military vessels and aircraft on Philippine vessels in the country’s territory.

“We also protect our children and communities from the pervasive and persistent risks of various types of contamination and poor quality of their products,” he added.

Salceda said, “we also can neither outsource nor consign the defense of national patrimony to other countries or seek comfort in the shield of mutual defense treaties.”

Salceda said based on official records, the country imports $7 billion worth of products from China and exports about $6 billion worth of products, which translates to a trade deficit of nearly $1 billion in 2010.

The Philippine economy, however, could be paying much more “since it is well-known that China is a major source of cheap smuggled goods which find their way into the wholesale and retail centers of Divisoria,” he said.

“Easily, our ‘real imports’ from China could reach more than $10 billion.”

Salceda also urged Filipinos belonging to the upper-income classes to postpone their shopping binges and tours to China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

He said boycotting “made in China” products “is far more moral than shedding precious Filipino blood in those seas and islands that our heroes bequeathed to us as national heritage.”

“Sure, it will not bring mighty China to their knees but it would make loud and clear to the imperial mandarins of Beijing that all Filipinos are united in their sentiment: enough to the bullying that tramples upon our dignity as a nation,” Salceda said.

He said the boycott should send a strong signal to the Chinese people “who share kinship in our humanity that their rulers are committing these infringements in their name.”

Strong signal

Salceda said the backlash of such a boycott would be minimal since the country’s exports to China can be recovered in other markets and local industries dependent on Chinese inputs can source raw materials elsewhere.

He said there is very little official development assistance as well as direct foreign investments coming from China and the Philippines has almost “zero debt” to Beijing.

He said overseas Filipino workers are concentrated in Hong Kong and Macau where their services are preferred by Hong Kong families.

Diplomatic offensive

Meantime, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez called for the launching of an international diplomatic offensive that would portray China as a “misbehaving international bully.”

He said the country’s diplomats, lawmakers and other government representatives should deliver speeches before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the United Nations, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation as well as in the US Congress and other parliaments in Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

“We should internationalize in both official and unofficial channels. We can hurt China in an area where they are most vulnerable and where a credible attack can be launched and sustained: Their international image,” he said. – With Cet Dematera

ALBAY GOV ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS BEIJING CHINA CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES HONG KONG SALCEDA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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