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Philippines protests 'Filipinos' as cookie brand.

MANILA, Aug. 27 Kyodo

The Philippine government will file a diplomatic protest with the Spanish government because a Spanish cookie manufacturer is calling some cookies it sells in Europe "Filipinos," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Friday.

The move follows a resolution filed in the House of Representatives calling for a protest about the brand name.

President Joseph Estrada said Thursday the brand was "an insult" to Filipinos.

The department said it has acted on the directive of Congress to protest the use of the brand name and to demand the manufacturer stop selling the cookies until the brand name is changed.

"The department instructed the Philippine Embassy in Madrid to protest this matter to the Spanish Foreign Ministry and to the manufacturer, Nabisco Iberia SL in Barcelona, Spain," the statement said.

The embassy in Brussels was also instructed to make a representation with the European Commission.

The protests are an apparent turnabout for Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon, who expressed Thursday reluctance to file any protests.

He told reporters he saw nothing wrong with the use of "Filipinos" as a brand name, noting Austrians do not complain that small sausages are called "Vienna sausages."

He said that the government doesn't usually deal with matters such as choosing brand names for products.

Siazon, however, apparently had a change of heart after Estrada made the comment that the cookies were an insult to Filipinos, and because his department's budget proposal is scheduled to be scrutinized by the House of Representatives soon, officials said.

A resolution filed by Congressman Heherson Alvarez called on the Department of Foreign Affairs "to immediately conduct a thorough investigation into this matter, and determine the use and misuse of our racial identity to promote or sell a particular brand of cookies or any other product."

Alvarez claimed the term "Filipinos" was apparently chosen in reference to the color of the cookies and pretzels sold under the brand -- dark outside and white inside.

"These food items could be appropriately called by any other label, but the manufacturers have chosen our racial identity, and they are now making money out of these food items," Alvarez's resolution said.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Aug 30, 1999
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