you one of the many Filipinos who, in righteous indignation, swore not
to buy China-made goods because of what that communist country is doing
to Philippine possessions in the West Philippine Sea? First of
all—thank you. It is not everyday that one can find people who are
willing to make some sacrifice in order
to stop an aggressive "bully" nation that uses force and intimidation to
illegally occupy reefs, shoals, and islands belonging to the
Philippines...in contravention of international rules and guidelines
that law-abiding nations adhere to.
You went out of your way
to look around and most likely even paid more for an alternative product
that was made in a country other than China. If hundreds or thousands of
Pinoys like you around the world do the same thing, China will
eventually feel the heat and come to their senses. An economic boycott,
if it catches on globally, can be an effective tool in correcting
aberrant behavior of nations.
But what if you find
out that despite all the sacrifices you and many others like you are
making, the Philippine Government itself is buying Chinese products
worth billions of pesos? That would certainly put a dent in your
enthusiasm at the very least. At worst, it would feel like a betrayal;
like you were played for a fool. You went out of your way to look for,
shoes, clothing, appliances, or whatever it was you needed, that was not
made in China, but now it turns out, the Philippine government itself
has no plans of making similar sacrifices.
In mid-August, the
Philippine The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced
that China's Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company had shipped a
prototype light rail vehicle (LRV) for testing on Metro Manila's Metro
Rail Transit (MRT) 3 rail line. If all goes well, Dalian Locomotive will
eventually ship 48 more LRVs for the MRT 3. All told, the purchase will
cost a whopping P3,759,382,400.00 or the equivalent of $81,725,704.00
(at the current exchange rate).
If you're one of those
patriotic Filipinos protesting China's actions by foregoing purchases of
China-made products, imagine how many millions of you it will take just
to offset this one deal.
It may be true that the
MRT 3 line is the most heavily used light rail line of the three that
currently exist. And the aging LRVs now
service certainly need to be replenished. But LRVs are not exotic
machines that can be bought from only a handful of suppliers. There are
hundreds of manufacturers that could have met the requirements of the
DOTC for the MRT 3 order.
Back in 2013 and 2014
when this purchase was being bid out, the DOTC Bids and Awards Committee
should have disallowed Chinese companies from bidding. Would that have
been an unprecedented step and raised eyebrows? Yes, of course. And on
the surface, it would have seemed unfair to discriminate in that way.
However, let's not forget what China is doing: occupying by force,
shoals and reefs that lie well within the Philippine's 200 mile
exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Now that's unfair and illegal as well.
Going though with this
controversial purchase makes the Aquino administration appear
wishy-washy, or incompetent, or both. It is a betrayal as well to all
those who are boycotting "made in China" products. How can any Filipino
with an ounce of patriotism in them take this administration seriously