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Inspirational Message to the 23rd Buy Pinoy Exporters Fair
SM Megatrade Hall 2, Mandaluyong City
August 16, 2012

President Marlane Villa-Real, Buy Pinoy Movement Foundation President, to the exporters of the various product lines in the country, officers and members of the various exporters associations, to the small and medium enterprises that continue to bolster our developing economy, mga pinuno at empleyado ng Department of Trade and Industry, magandang araw sa ating lahat!

I am extremely pleased to be with you today. Trade fairs are a very effective tool to showcase our people’s ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. It is also the best proof that you can never go wrong with buying Filipino-made products. My congratulations to my kindred spirits in the Buy Filipino Movement Foundation for your tireless effort in promoting Filipino enterprises!

We Filipinos have been conditioned and confined by a century of mis-education to prefer things foreign or imported as superior. I myself am a victim of this. Kasama po ako sa henerasyon na pinaniwalang kung galing sa Cartimar o Cash and Carry ang sapatos mo, okay ka pero kung galing sa Marikina ay wala, baduy. O kaya’y kung sa Baclaran ka namimili ng damit low class ka pero kung sa Greenhills ay okay na okay.

Ang sabi ng ibang producers, sa dayuhan na lang tayo magbenta ng produkto. Mas appreciated daw nila, mas mataas ang presyo, at hindi pa ginagaya. For a time this seemed to work, and our exporters flourished. But the global crisis has shown us the limits of globalization. We have to re-learn the basic principle that a strong export industry has its foundations in a strong domestic economy. Otherwise, we end up being mere re-exporters, with cheap labor as the biggest added value.

We have a situation where our people have to regain their confidence and pride in buying Filipino products and endeavor to build Filipino industries for our economy to advance. We have to be able to sell our products to what should be our biggest captive market – the 90 or so million Filipinos who are inside and outside our country.

Kaya lang may problema tayo. Una, mas mura daw ang imported. Pangalawa, walang pambili ang ating mga kababayan kaya gusto nila ng imported kasi mas mura.

That is why it is not enough to say Buy Pinoy. We also have to Build Pinoy. We have to deserve the title Philippine-made. Pero paano po ito mangyayari gayong napakahirap maging manufacturer sa Pilipinas? Napakamahal ng kuryente. Nalakataas ng cost of doing business. Madalas, ginagawang gatasan ng gobyerno pati ang ating micro, small and medium enterprises. Okay lang siguro sa large… biro lang po.

Hindi lang consumer education ang kailangan but also an advocacy for policy reforms to ensure that our people not only want to Buy Pinoy but actually can.

Kaya nga kami sa Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development ay nag-inisyatiba ng isang kampanyang Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy. We have created a Buy Pinoy Build Pinoy pledge that we plan to circulate. Let me read the pledge:

The Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy! Pledge

We, Filipinos from all walks of life – farmers and workers, industrialists and entrepreneurs, traders and consumers, artists and members of the media, students and teachers, private persons and public officials, among others – do hereby pledge to:

– Buy and promote Filipino-made products to help build local industries and create quality jobs and livelihoods for our people;

– Support laws and policies that benefit our producers and entrepreneurs towards the creation of a strong, self-reliant and globally-competitive economy;

– Fight smuggling, dumping and other anomalous and unfair trade practices and agreements;

– Help achieve greater transparency and accountability in government;

– Join other efforts to end mass poverty and correct the social problems that undermine our quest for national development;

Together, let us move the Philippine economy forward and achieve prosperity and social justice for all!

To this end, allow me to say that I share your dreams of having a better business environment locally first, and internationally second; of easier modes of getting access to more credit, and having a better government that helps local businesses flourish, and having a people that have the awareness and capacity to buy pinoy.

I truly and deeply commend the Buy Pinoy Movement Foundation for its continuing efforts to instill economic patriotism and pride in every worthy Filipino product, creation and business enterprise. Your network continues to do so much in getting Filipino enterprises and products in the local and international markets and providing many employment opportunities for our people in the process. It is indeed high time to partner and ramp up efforts of all the associations of Filipino businesses – the MSMEs and the large corporations – to bolster consumer consciousness AND preference for Filipino products.

I am heartened also, that we have similar dreams in pursuing changes in our government, our economy and our society in the immediate and long term. On this note, I hope and pray that we can continue working together towards these ends.

Maraming salamat po and mabuhay kayong lahat!#

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