The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said it has reassured the Chinese Embassy in Manila that Philippine authorities are committed to protecting Chinese citizens and interests in the country.
The DFA was reacting to an advisory issued hours earlier by Beijing warning its citizens not to travel to the Philippines.
The advisory came after a Chinese teenager working for a family-run store in Zamboan ga Sibugay in Mindanao was kidnapped.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said the department informed the Chinese Embassy that there is “appropriate and necessary protection to guard against threats and prevent any violent incidents.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also raised concern over the reported terror plot that targets the Chinese Embassy and Chinese interests in the Philippines.
The ministry was referring to the arrest of three men at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 last September 1.
Authorities said the group was assembling bombs they will
detonate at the airport and the embassy.
“Given that the safety situation in the Philippines is deteriorating, the consular service of the foreign ministry is asking Chinese nationals not to travel to the Philippines for the time being,” the advisory said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said aside from the Chinese Embassy, the “misguided group” planned to bomb the SM Mall of Asia and the DMCI main office in Makati City (metro Manila) to dramatize their anti-Chinese grievances and protest the Philippines “soft” stance on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue.
The Mall of Asia is the country’s biggest mall, and is owned by Henry Sy, which Forbes magazine named recently as the Philippines’ richest man.
Sy was born in China.
DMCI is a construction firm owned by David Consunji, a Chinese-Filipino who was named also by Forbes as the sixth richest man in the country.
Li Peizhi, 18, was seized by gunmen in Kabasalan town, Zamboanga Sibugay, reports said.
The abductors also took with them P20,000 from the store’s cash register.
Kabasalan Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf extremists who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 might have abducted Li.
Li’s family has not received any ransom demand.
The DFA earlier sent a note verbale to the Chinese Embassy to assure Beijing that the bomb threat was not a national policy rooted in the diplomatic tensions between China and the Philippines.
The two countries are in deepening territorial disputes over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea, with China reclaiming at least five previously uninhabited islands based on their nine-dash line position.
The row deepened after a two-month standoff between the Philippine and Chinese navies in 2012 at Scarborough Shoal.
The Philippines has since filed an arbitration case against China before a United Nations-backed tribunal court at The Hague.
China rejected the proposition, and called for the Philippines not to engage its Asian and Western allies in the “regional issue.”
Manila submitted its memorial, an inventory of evidences that will invalidate China’s nine-dash line claim.
The tribunal asked China to submit its counter-argument in December this year amid Beijing’s resolution not to participate in the proceedings.
The nine-dash line covers the entire 3.5 million square miles of waters, islets, islands, seabed, shoals and rock formations that are believed to be rich in oil and minerals.