LEGAZPI CITY – Albay citizens wants the boycott call on China products continue which a former Albay governor had initiated less than a decade ago, as the relation between the country and China continue to sour as a result of the unending dispute at the West Philippine Sea the latest of which was the ramming and sinking of the Filipino fishing vessel by a Chinese trawler on June 9.
Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, (Albay 2nd District) started it all during his second term as governor in 2010 calling for the boycott of China products following a trade gap issue between the two countries where China gets 12 billion dollars for its goods in the Philippines, while the country gets a measly 4 billion dollars for its products in China. As a result, Salceda’s boycott call prompted China to buy the burgeoning over supply of the country’s banana.
Dubbed by his critics as a political “turncoat,” the senior citizens who simply call themselves as the ragtag senior citizens group, described Salceda’s boycott call worth every Filipino support for China to respect the country’s sovereignty over the issue at the West Philippine Sea. A dozen of the close to 70 members of the ragtag senior citizens group regularly meet every morning over a cup of coffee in a food court of the Ayala Mall Legazpi where they enjoy discussing arising controversial issues under the present administration.
Juventino Roquid, 72, a retired US navy officer and said to the coordinator of the ragtag senior citizens group, his group is desperate about the defeatist stand of the present administration involving the issue at the West Philippine Sea which China continue to assert as part of their territory. “We are not protesting and making noises against China advances to invite war,” said balikbayan Wilfredo Santos, 77, adding it is unfair to show a glaring obedience on China advances whom President Duterte boasted as a friend, however, treating us the opposite.
A native of Batangas who stays in America for 32 years and now a resident of Legazpi, Santos, said the only share I could give to my beloved country by now is to boycott China products adding Salceda’s initiated boycott move is a strong sense of statesmanship. He said Salceda is virtually unknown to him but his boycott stand is worth a support.
Salceda cannot be contacted for comment but the senior citizens group said his boycott stand against China products continue as posted in his Facebook account. The group lamented on the glaring silence of Salceda’s counterparts in Bicol, said Santos who is barely three years in Legazpi.
Elected governor in 2007 after his first three terms in congress representing the 3rd district of Albay, in 2016 Salceda ran for the province 2nd district, and was re-elected last May 13, elections.
The Filipino-Chinese seniors claimed that Salceda appeared as the lone voice when he called for the boycott of China products during his governorship.
A retired U.S navy officer, Roquid said the ragtag seniors group which do not elect officers is a non political grouping, however, strongly supported the Otso Diretso bets during the last elections that at least yielded four bets win in Albay.
Dismissing any political color for Salceda dubbed by his critics as super “balimbing,” the seniors remembered Salceda of pioneering his strong zero casualty advocacy which other provinces eventually adopted. Roquid said the former Albay governor had strictly enforce his preemptive response for zero casualty no matter the cost during his 9 years as governor which is being missed by Albayanos.
Jose Grecco, 89, an active member of the ragtag seniors group whose father is a full-blooded Chinese China claim at the West Philippine Sea is extremely unfair but said Salceda’s boycott call for Chinese products is also unfair. He said Filipinos should be thankful over the flooding of china products in the country which are known cheaper in cost adding Chinese-owned malls in Legazpi engaged on cheaper non-branded goods are flooded with both the poor and the rich.
Grecco said Salceda character as a turncoat is not an issue saying election results for Salceda would show him always victorious garnering a super majority lead in votes against his rivals citing performance. Adding turncoatism is the passion among politicians.
Salceda turncoatism passion initially erupted when his boasted bet for president, then defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro who was his guest in Legazpi, he personally accompanie in filing his Certificate of Candidacy for president at the local Commission on Elections Office. A couple of months before the 2010 presidential elections, however, Salceda surprised the country when he bolted Teodoro to join the candidacy of Benigno (P-noy) Aquino 111. Despite the annihilating publicity against Salceda, however, his reelection bid for governor against businesswoman Linda Montayre yielded close to 90 percent of cast votes in his favour.
During the May 2016 presidential elections, Salceda who was identified with P-noy ruling administration bet Mar Roxas pulled another surprise when he announced his support 3 weeks before election for candidate Grace Poe.
Last May 13, 2019 elections, again Salceda garnered a whooping landslide votes against his rival former provincial board member Vergilio Goyena who garnered 39,000 votes only. This despite Goyena’s petition for disqualification case filed before the Comelec on March 7, against Salceda for allegedly not filing his Statement of Certificate of Expenses during the 2010 and 2013 elections.