Enemies behind ‘PH, Province of China’ banners: Palace
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Malacañang has found banners tagging the Philippines as province of China “absurd”, saying enemies of the government are behind the red tarpaulins installed in some streets in Metro Manila.
“I don’t think I should even comment. We don’t even know who hanged those tarpaulins,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during Thursday’s regular Palace media briefing.
A red banner hanging from a Quezon City footbridge reads “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” with a logo that has Chinese flags and characters.
“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,” Roque said.
Pressed to identify the enemies of the state, Roque responded: “I don’t know but certainly we have nothing to gain by hanging those tarpaulins”.
The banners were spotted on Thursday as the Philippines marked the second year of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s landmark decision, invalidating China’s nine-dash line claims of the disputed South China Sea.
“Perhaps they are just trying to provoke because they are obviously propagating a lie that we have given up in our national territory,” Roque said.
Roque said it is farthest from the truth “because we continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights”.
When asked what Malacañang would do to the tarpaulins, Roque said: “We will do nothing”.
“But I’m sure there are people who will get those tarps and use to wipe the floor or something or put inside the toilet. It’s up to them. Anyway, those are recyclable,” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque said the Philippines will continue to adopt foreign policies that promote friendship and bring benefits to the Filipino people.
“We do not agree with those who lost control of territory by their confrontational hubris. Instead, the President has forged friendship which has obtained benefits for our people, boosted investment and trade for our economy,” Roque said in a statement.
He said Duterte’s move to take friendly approach with China amid the territorial dispute has also reduced threat of conflict and opened the door of confidence-building talks between Association of Southeast Asian Nation and China.
“And when there are issues, we dialogue as friends, not argue as adversaries,” Roque said.
“All this time, we are building up our capabilities to eventually assert our sovereign rights and interests. That is the policy that works for our nation,” he added. (PNA)