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Why is the Philippines Still Spending Billions Buying Chinese Goods?

re 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 orderPrototype LRV sent to Manila from Dalian, China. Inset shows the Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company building 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 President Aquino uses a map to make a point during a press conferencein 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 after this? Published 8/22/2015

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