MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is not supporting the call of some quarters to boycott China-made products amid the continuing dispute over the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, the DFA said: “Both the Philippines and China have taken the position that the South China Sea dispute should not be the sum total of their relations. Our two countries have agreed to abstract the South China Sea dispute for separate treatment and to allow the other areas of our bilateral relations to move forward.”
It added the “boycott” call is an initiative of certain sectors who are “exercising their right to free expression.”
China, the world’s largest exporter, relies on its exports to boost its economy. China belongs to the top five trading partners of the Philippines.
President Aquino is set to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. tomorrow.
The US Pinoys for Good Governance was the first to call for a boycott of China-made products to protest Chinese "bullying" in the West Philippine Sea.
Di ka Pasisiil Movement founder and former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said their group is focusing on a boycott of China-made garments instead of all products from China.
He reasoned that there are substitutes to China-made garments such as clothes from Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan India Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia.
"We used to have a robust garments industry that got hit when we allowed the entry of China-made garments. Many textile factories were shut down. By doing the boycott, we are showing China that we are angry with what they are doing in the West Philippine Sea," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
Golez said he has not bought clothes made in China for over a year.
He said the garments boycott is a private initiative since he also wants the Philippine government to continue with its talks with China.