WATCH | Palasyo: “Province of China” banners, kagagawan ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno


Malacañang said Thursday the "enemies of government" were behind the installation of tarpaulins tagging the Philippines as a province of China that have sprouted in some areas of Metro Manila.

Red banners bearing the message "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" were spotted hanging on several pedestrian overpasses in time for the second anniversary of the Philippines' sweeping victory against China in the arbitration case involving the disputed South China Sea.


"It’s absurd and I’m sure it’s the enemies of our government behind it. So to them: try again, you need a better gimmick than that," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said at a news conference.

Roque said he did not know who these enemies are "but certainly we have nothing to gain by hanging those tarpaulins."

"Nagpo-provoke lang po siguro iyan. They are obviously propagating a lie that we have given up on our national territory. It’s farthest from the truth," the Palace official said.

"We continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights. But we decided to move on issues which are non-controversial because we know that the final resolution particularly on the issues of sovereignty on the disputed islands will take many, many, many years to resolve since this was not a subject of the arbitral ruling that we won two years ago," he added.


 The tarpaulin's message seemed to be a reference to President Rodrigo Duterte's joke in February when he told a gathering of Filipino-Chinese businessmen about making the Philippines a province of China.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, however, saw Duterte's joke as a manifestation of wanting to have closer relations that became frosty when Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, took Beijing to court.

Relations between the Philippines and China have vastly improved under Duterte, who sought Chinese trade and economic aid while shelving long-running territorial disputes, including United Nations arbitral tribunal case won by Manila in July 2016.

The ruling invalidated China's historic claims in the resource-rich waters and spelled out the Philippines’ sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas fields within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Source: GMA and News5
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