Still hung up (i.e. depressed) over Inconvenient Truth, I also sat through a talk of Alex Lacson last week. Young lawyer and author of 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country — he is a simple man with a pleasing way about him, and also very “idealistic”. The very first “Thing” he discussed left me wanting to act, and act NOW: Support Filipino products.
Every peso spent on imported goods is one peso given in support of another country’s economy, not the Philippine economy. Every time we buy a blouse or dvd (oh no!) made in Bangkok or China, we are contributing to the bad business of local industries.
What to do? Alex Lacson recommends a 50-50 split between 1) supporting foreign investments and 2) economic nationalism. This will obviously require a lot of initial compromise (quality and value for money may need to take a backseat to plain belief in and support for the campaign), but it is what our industries need, perhaps to survive first, then improve and be competitive later on.
My dad always says that we are quick to call the Philippines an agricultural country, and yet we import most of our rice and cattle! I’m sure there are more complex theories on why the economy is the way it is, but on a personal level, this economic nationalism is something concrete that we can do, and do NOW.
Lacson said he started with changing the toothpaste of choice in his family (because one uses it three times a day, everyday). Colgate pulled out its manufacturing arm from the country and moved it to Thailand some time ago, so its products are no longer produced locally. Neither are Close up products. His household now boasts of pearly whites from Happee and Kumukutikutitap.
I asked where a list of all the Pinoy products which need Pinoy love and support can be found, and he indicated that one such compilation is in the works, c/o Cito Beltran and company. Right now what we can do is make the extra effort to read labels at the groceries, or ask our salesladies where whatever we are buying is made.
Why do I call this a disturbance? Because it is exactly that– we are called to ruffle our feathers, change our lifestyle, get inconvenienced. And the call is not coming from a plea– no one is begging or even persistently giving us a salestalk– we are simply being told how things are, we are being given the truth.
Sharing my favorite prayer below:
Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly,
to venture into wider seas where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow. Amen.