MANIILA, Philippines – Albay Governor Joey Salceda, a political ally of President Aquino, urged Filipinos on Sunday to band together and boycott China-made products in retaliation to Beijing ’s “bullying’’ in the country’s territory.
“Let us boycott ‘Made in China’ products, buy Filpino. Let us hurt them where it counts. We also protect our children and communities from the pervasive and persistent risks of various types of contamination and poor quality of their products,’’ said Salceda in a speech during an Independence Day ceremony at the Albay provincial hall.
Salceda said retaliation through trade against China’s repeated intrusions in Spratlys Islands and the West Palawan Sea has become the only viable alternative to ordinary Fiilpinos since military provocation was not an option.
The governor said the country could not depend on other countries in fighting off “not only threats to our national sovereign territory” but also actions that bring “shame to our dignity as a race and as a nation.’’
The Philippines posted a $900-million trade deficit with China in 2010, said Salceda. The country imported $7 billion worth of goods from China while shipping a little over $6 billion goods to China, but Salceda reckoned this was actually bigger as he estimated that another $3 billion worth of goods were being smuggled from China and were sold in Divisoria.
Salceda said that boycotting China-made goods would force exporters to seek alternative markets for their products and prompt industries to get their inputs from other sources. He said that China has placed little foreign direct investments and soft loans to the country. Most of the Filipino workers are deployed in Hong Kong and Macau, not in the Mainland, according to Salceda.
“The consequences of a China economic reprisal are offset by the strategic benefits of national unity and dignity, which by themselves are priceless. The risks of China boycott are reasonable and affordable when compared to the costs to national well-being of other options or of doing nothing,’’ said Salceda.
“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,” he said.
“This should send a strong signal to the Chinese people who shares kinship in our humanity that their rulers are committing these infringements in their name,’’ added Salceda, a former top stock market analyst and economic adviser of the previous Arroyo administration.