Editorial

True, the Philippines as a country & people – but not the Aquino government – is friendliest to China

Palace spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda is absolutely right. The Philippines continues to be among the countries of the world friendliest to China.

He is absolutely correct, when he said: “Are we Filipinos focusing or targeting Chinese? Of course not. We are one of the most, if not the most, friendly country in respect of our Chinese brethren. “

“We have not seen any discrimination. We have not seen any form of hostility towards our Filipino-Chinese or the mainland Chinese, who are here,” he added.

The President’s spokesman was also correct to admonish the state-owned and state-run Global Times, saying it was “unfair for the newspaper to politicize” the issue of crimes committed in the Philippines against Chinese nationals because in other countries criminal gangs also prey on ethnic Chinese and visitors of mainland China and Taiwan.

“Everybody knows that some of these things [crimes] happen, not only in our country but also in other countries. I don’t think its proper for them to put a political spin,” Lacierda said.

He added that the Philippines government will deal with the criminals that victimized Chinese nationals here as an “ordinary law enforcement issue” with no political color.

He could also have added that Filipino-Chinese—who are patriotic Filipinos—are probably investing more in mainland China than in the Philippines, which proves that we as a people, who mostly have Chinese blood in us, have no feelings of bias against China and the Chinese.  And we are proud of the fact that our foremost national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, is of Chinese ethnicity.

Lacierda was reacting to the editorial published by The Global Times, which asked for a public apology from President Benigno Aquino 3rd  over the “serial attacks” on Chinese citizens in the Philippines.

The Global Times cited the abduction of a Chinese teenager in Zamboanga Sibugay and the alleged plan to attack the Chinese Embassy in Manila by a self-styled anti-China group, as well as the kidnapping of a Chinese national by three policemen in Caloocan City.

It also recalled the 2010 Quirino hostage crisis, when eight Hong Kong Chinese died.

The Philippines and China are locked in a maritime dispute over parts of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), with Manila filing a case against Beijing with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

In its editorial, Global Times urged all Chinese citizens to avoid traveling to the Philippines, which reinforces a recent Chinese government travel advisory.

Global Times correctly said the Philippine government “lacks the ability to manage safety issues.”

“Consequently, certain criminals may take advantage of this anti-China mood as a cover to increase the likelihood of escaping punishment for their crimes,” the Global Times said.  “We advise Chinese citizens not to travel there in the near future, which, while being an act of caution to ensure one’s safety, is also a warning signal to the Philippines.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on its website posted on September 11 says the “worsening security situation in the Philippines” should discourage Chinese nationals from setting foot here.

It’s a good thing Secretary Lacierda spoke of “Filipinos” as a concrete meaning of “the Philippines.” For he would have been wrong if he had said the Philippine Government of President Benigno Aquno 3rd is “among the friendliest to China.”

That was absolutely true of the Philippine Government of now under hospital arrest and ailing former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Thankfully, Filipino and Chinese businessmen and Philippine and Chinese corporations continue to deal happily with each other.  Such business-to-business and people-to-people intercourse should be encouraged.

That is why we are holding the Manila Times business forum on October 29 with the title “ Business as Usual in Unusual Times.”  The forum’s aim is to foster further prosperous business relations between Filipino and Chinese entrepreneurs.

These relations are being endangered by the Aquino administration’s actions, which the Chinese government deems unfriendly.

The Manila Times Business Forum seeks to stem these threats, prevent any further damage and restore these relations to their normal warmth and spirit of goodwill.