Buy Local, Buy Filipino

Buy Local Buy Filipino
Extract from a speech at United Laboratories, Inc.
16 May 2008
A few years ago, I realized how important this matter is to our national economy. As a lawyer, I have met with clients and friends who are engaged in the retail business. Some of them told me that, on average, for every imported product that we buy in the market, at least 40% of the price we pay for it eventually leaves the country, and goes to the foreign country where that imported product was manufactured.

This means that if you buy imported toothpaste, say for P100, at least P40 of the P100 you paid will eventually be remitted out of our country. It will go to Thailand or Indonesia where that imported toothpaste was made. Now, what if 10 million out of the 90 million Filipinos in the country today will each buy imported toothpaste every month? P100 times 10 million Filipinos is 1 Billion pesos. What is 40% of P1 Billion? That’s P400 million. P400 million will be sent out of our country because 10 million Filipinos decided to buy one imported toothpaste a month. In a year, it means that P4.8 Billion will leave the country.

P4.8 Billion is a lot of capital, and this is only with respect to toothpaste. Since surveys say that at least 70% of the products being sold in our market today is imported, we can only imagine how much capital is sent out of our country every year. The total amount must be very huge. Unfortunately, this huge capital is helping the economies of other countries instead of our own.

In Japan, the teachers in primary and secondary schools seriously teach and encourage their students to buy Japanese products. When they become adults, whether they are in Japan or abroad, they continue to support and patronize Japanese goods. We see this among Japanese in the Philippines. When they buy company cars for their executives, they do not buy American or European cars. Instead, they buy Toyota or Honda or Mitsubishi cars, because the Japanese know that when they do so, a portion of the money will eventually go back to Toyota or Honda in Japan, and help maintain the stature of these companies in the world market.

What the Japanese people are doing is actually very simple. By supporting Japanese products, they are performing small acts of patriotism for their country. Why can’t we do the same in our country? Why don’t we support our own? Why don’t we support the Filipino talent?

Parents and teachers in our country should start doing the same thing to our children and students. As parents, we should start supporting a few Filipino products and show and explain to our children why we are supporting them. Believe me, if we will do this, someday soon, a new generation of young Filipinos will emerge in this country, a new generation of young Filipinos who will have faith in the talent and skill of the Filipino, a new generation of Filipinos who will have faith in themselves, a new generation of young people who could elevate the Filipino to a stature of greatness and prosperity.

But it must start with us today. We must start planting small seeds of patriotism in the hearts and minds of our children today.