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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Zubiri: PH taxpayers unwittingly funding China’s illegal incursions in WPS

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Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday said the country’s taxpayers are unwittingly funding China’s illegal incursions and
harassment of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).


He said this is done with the Philippine government’s continued patronage of Chinese contractors in big-ticket public infrastructure
projects all over the country.


With this, Zubiri has raised 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.


“DPWH has many projects with state-owned companies … companies owned by China, the government of China. They’re doing nothing except bully our countrymen in the West Philippines Sea (WPS),” said Zubiri.


“So we get back at them. Let us blacklist their companies,” he said. 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.

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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 exercises supervision of the PCG.


 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.


Earlier, Zubiri 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.

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