PH gov’t urged to set aside differences with China

Chris Schnabel
China is a big source of opportunity for more businesses, income, and jobs, and the country would not want to miss that, the leader of the Filipino-Chinese business community says
OPPORTUNITY. The government is urged to set aside its differences with China regarding disputed territory, as it would be a “big missed opportunity” for the country. Photo by Chris Schnabel / Rappler

MANILA, Philippines ­– Filipino-Chinese businessmen urged the government to set aside its differences with China regarding the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and avoid missed opportunities for the country.
“The Chinese are getting rich and starting to travel. Chinese tourists are very rich and love to spend money so it’s a good opportunity to get more businesses, income, and create jobs,” said Dr. Alfonso Siy, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (FFCCCII).
By setting aside differences, Siy meant to maintain the status quo.
He pointed out that the country has already filed a case with the Hague-based Arbitral Tribunal over the West Philippine Sea, and counseled against further antagonizing China through the media. This could lead to more misunderstandings, he said.
Dwarfed by China in terms of military strength, the Philippines filed a case against China in March last year, to end decades of alleged bullying by the rising superpower. China has refused to take part in the arbitration.
“Let’s face it, it’s not easy to fight a big country, why sacrifice for something that we can avoid if possible?” Siy pointed out. “Like for example, the light rail system is one of the most economical and feasible systems which they (China) can always help us with, almost for free,” Siy said.
Also, the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) capacity expansion project is set to acquire 48 brand new trains that was awarded to CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company of China.
Getting China to help the country on big transportation systems like MRT3, as they have done with other Asian countries, would do wonders for the economy by alleviating the traffic situation, he added.
Good for business
Despite the territorial dispute with China, Siy appreciated the Aquino administration’s efforts in instilling new confidence to the economy through its good governance and transparency initiatives.
Siy also pointed out that the Filipino-Chinese community plays a large role in the country’s economy.
“I would venture to say that the majority of the Philippine economy, especially in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are being managed by Chinese-Filipinos,” and added about 70% of them run SMEs in the country.
Speaking at the sidelines of a dialogue on security between the Filipino-Chinese community and the government, hosted by Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on February 17, Siy said, “It’s very good. Peace and order is always a good engine for business growth.”
Roxas discussed the highlights of the Philippine National Police’s initiative to centralize various operations to combat crime under Oplan Lambat-Sibat.  Rappler.com