Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay urged the government to find alternative markets which would be able to accommodate the country’s fruit exports should the territorial dispute with China affect the Philippine export industry and other businesses in the country.
“Let’s face it. Until this dispute is resolved, the country will be directly or indirectly affected by lost business opportunities. So while the government explores diplomatic solutions to the problem on Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, it must also be ready with a back up to allay fears of exporters on their trade with the country,” she said.
Last week, it was reported that Philippine fruit exports are facing more stringent procedures before it is released from China Customs, which some parties have attributed to the conflict about the island.
Magsaysay added that the Philippines should also brace for dips in tourist visits from China amid Beijing’s pull out of tourist flights to the country and aborted investment deals due to the dispute.
“We can try to shrug off the impact of the dispute or we could face it head on. We should be open to the reality that this issue is severely affecting our potential as an investment hub not only for the Chinese investors but other multinational firms as well. Figuring in this issue is not a likely come on for those who want to do business in the country.”
“I am not saying that we should not fight for our right to the territory. I am only saying that we should find the best solution, a solution that will not result in war but rather where all parties will find acceptable compromise. For the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to have a plan B.”
In an earlier news, Magsaysay said that it might be best for the moment not to make further statements regarding the issue of Scarborough or Panatag Shoals and seek a way to enter into diplomatic solutions to iron out the issue with China.
“Staying silent for the moment is not a sign of weakness but rather a symbol that we are open to discussing the issue with them (China) in a calm and diplomatic setting. We are part of one international community and for the longest time, China and the Philippines have had a very strong relationship,” she said. “Even our histories are intertwined.”
Magsaysay further explained that both countries should not be quick to dismiss its centuries-old ties and seek a way for an impartial third party to mediate the issue wherein a win-win solution could be met.
“Let cooler heads prevail at this point. Going up in arms and fueling the word war over the issue will achieve nothing but cause panic and chaos among citizens of both countries.”
Beijing has reportedly cancelled tourist flights to Manila while inspections on fruit imports from the Philippines now face more stringent procedures before passing through Customs in China. Meanwhile, a global day of protest against China has been set by civil society and political groups in the Philippines to illustrate their dissatisfaction over actions taken by the world superpower on the territorial dispute over Scarborough.#