Senate President Migz Zubiri: Blacklist Chinese infra contractors
Filipino taxpayers are unwittingly funding China’s illegal incursions and harassment of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea with the Philippine government’s continued patronage of Chinese contractors in big-ticket public infrastructure projects all over the country.
With this, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has upped his earlier suggestion to boycott Chinese products and companies in the Philippines to include an exclusion of Chinese contractors in infrastructure projects funded by the Filipino people’s money.
“May mga projects ang DPWH, ang mga kompanya ay state-owned companies. Pagmamay-ari po ng Tsina mismo, ng gobyerno ng Tsina. Wala naman po silang ginagawa kundi mam-bully lang nang mam-bully ng ating mga kababayan sa WPS, sa ating mga mangingisda,” Zubiri said in a recent radio interview.
“Eh ‘di bumawi na lang tayo. I-blacklist natin ‘yong mga kompanyang ‘yon. Bakit naman iyung mga buwis pa ng mga kababayan nating Pilipino ang gagamitin para ipambayad dito sa mga state-owned companies? Tapos ‘yong income po niyan, babalik po sa Tsina, gagamitin ng Tsina pambayad doon sa kanilang navy at coast guard na nangha-harass po sa atin dito. Hindi po tama ‘yon. That is not right,” the Senate leader added.
The Senate President has been voicing out his condemnation of China’s continued intrusion into Philippine territory, particularly with the recent incident that involved the water canon of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on a supply run in Ayungin Shoal to a grounded BRP Sierra Madre.
Zubiri explained that many public infrastructure projects utilize Chinese contractors managed not only by DPWH but also by other government agencies like the Department of Transportation (DOTr) that exercise supervision of the PCG.
“Kinausap ko na si Sec. Jimmy Bautista, nandoon sa Senado noong isang araw, nag one-on-one po kami. Ang sabi ko, ‘Secretary, nakikita niyo naman kung ano ang ginagawa nila sa Coast Guard ninyo?’ Sabi ko, pag ganoon, huwag na natin bigyan ng project ang Chinese state-owned companies dito sa Pilipinas,” the senator from Bukidnon recalled.
“Katulad ng mga tren. Di ba may mga tren na North-South Railways going to Bicol, going to the North. Huwag na natin ibigay sa kanila. Ibigay na lang natin sa South Korea or sa Japan. Natuwa po ako at ang sabi po ni Sec. Bautista, hindi na po sila gagamit ng Chinese state-owned companies para sa kanilang trains, airports at malalaking big-ticket items,” he continued.
He made the same call to DPWH not to award big-ticket projects to Chinese contractors such as the 32-kilometer Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge and instead grant it to “friendlier” countries such as Japan and South Korea which have been providing development aid to the Philippines.
“Ibigay nalang po natin yan sa mga kapitbahay natin na mahal tayo, na kaibigan natin na tumutulong sa atin,” said Zubiri, who earlier chided China for declaring friendship with the Philippines but doing exactly the opposite in the WPS.
In standing up to China, Zubiri explained that the country can follow Vietnam’s template, which is to replace China as its top trading partner. He said the Philippines can execute trade agreements with other countries or enhance existing ones to compensate for the decision to drop China as a trading partner.
According to available data, the value of Philippine exports to China stands at $15.1 billion or P830.5 billion, comprising 16.% of the country’s total exports. The value of imports, meanwhile, is pegged at $48.9 billion or P2.7 trillion, or 33.8% of the total imports. This means that the Philippines has a trade imbalance of $33.8 billion in favor of China. (OSPJMZ/PIA-10/Bukidnon)