The call has been there since centuries ago. In the 19th century, Andres Bonifacio’s national liberation movement implied it. A century hence, former President Carlos Garcia sort of ordered it. In my generation, I have already heard of the “Buy Filipino Movement”. I quoted it because there is no movement to speak about, after all. It has practically failed to win the hearts and minds of Filipinos and Filipinas because of their ‘colonial mentality’, as I was taught. Consumerism has prevailed–“Filipino Buy” mentality.
But now, times have changed. Pinoys are already pragmatic, thanks to the economic difficulties they are in. The “original” has now changed so that its quality is reduced in exchange for a cheap price, making it affordable to Juan and Juana dela Cruz. Made in China? Cool! it’s still ‘original’ yet affordable. DVDs? Yes, one can now view six movies in one disc at a price of P100.00. (These cheap items, I heard, are ‘imported’ from Indonesia.)
I believe that the call for patronizing Filipino products should remain the issue of the day. But I’m not saying this in a puristic sense. Consumers have the right to quality and ecology-friendly products. Filipino-made stuff must then compete with the others sold in the market. However, in order to compete, the playing field must be leveled. In this, the role of favorable State policies is crucial.
Nevertheless, while working for this favorable State policy, the civil society can already do it themselves by promoting environment- and pocket-friendly products made by the grassroots communities. This has been done by Alay Kapwa, a religious community-run concern dealing with products made by the hands of community folks, who are mostly women. Although, I wish that there are other initiatives along this line.
Patronizing own products can range up to stuff like software development and computing. There should be high-profile initiatives (coupled of course with favorable State policy, like one that gives incentives) towards recognizing Filipino-made software creations, not to glorify the creators but to promote their effective use among folks who may need them. The Philippine Linux Users Group (PLUG) maintains a site that lists a number of software inventions made by Filipino programmers and developers. So far, there are 20 software applications listed. I assure you that when you visit that site, you’ll feel that Filipino programmers also deserve the world’s accolades.
One software I’d like to promote here is the Bayanihan Linux. It’s a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed to be a desktop alternative for Filipinos. It’s being developed in the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). Like any Linux and BSD variant, BL (as it is called for short) offers safety, fun, and freedom in computing as compared to Microsoft Windows, which ties the end-users to its technologies through unfair terms.
I plan to install BL in one of my office’s machines and explore it myself. In the meantime, I find the BL site very encouraging, which only deserves every Pinoy’s support. Just look at this screenshot of the ‘About’ page: