BUSINESS  GROUP  LAUNCHES  'BUY  FILIPINO'  CAMPAIGN  VS.  CHEAP  IMPORTS

MANILA, August 27, 2004 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - "Buy Filipino and save jobs."

This is the battlecry of the Filipino-Chinese business community as it tries to grapple with the plummeting sales of local products and prevent the displacement of more workers nationwide.

Benjamin Co, an official of the Federation of Filipino- Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII), said their group has launched the "Buy Filipino" campaign in a bid to preserve jobs and compete with cheap imported products.

Co disclosed that quite a number of Filipino-Chinese owned companies have folded up after losing out to much cheaper imported products from China.

"Many businesses in the country have been overtaken by imported garments and other cheaper products from China. As you can observe most of the shoes being sold in the market now are made in China," Co said.

He added that many furniture shops and other industries operating in Marikina, the country’s shoe capital, have already closed down, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of workers.

And with the current financial difficulties and continuing increase in the prices of gasoline and other essential commodities, the Filipino-Chinese business community said there could be a further drop in sales of local products.

But with the "Buy Filipino" campaign, Co said, the FFCCCII hopes to encourage consumers to buy locally made commodities and thus prevent more displacement of workers.

"We are hoping to promote patriotism and promote a culture like that of the Japanese who would still buy local products although cheaper imported commodities are available," he said.

At this time, however, Co admitted that the campaign has yet to gain much momentum.

"We are like a voice in the wilderness but we will continue working hard and hopefully we would be able to promote local products and create more jobs," he said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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