Filipinos: We are an independent nation—not a province of China

July 13th, 2018
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In case you haven’t caught up with the current frenzy online yet, several banners which read “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” were seen hanging from footbridges across Metro Manila.

The banners were posted in time for the second anniversary of the Philippines’ victory in its maritime dispute against China over the West Philippine Sea during the ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The sight of the banners prompted mixed reactions from netizens—many of which shared their concerns on protecting our sovereignty, expressed their firm stand against it, and called for authorities to take action for it to be taken down.

NOT FUNNY.

On this day, July 12, we commemorate our victory in Philippines v. China.

On Metro Manila footbridges, these tarps suddenly appear.

MMDA, LGUs, and citizens should immediately take these down. pic.twitter.com/gDR6BMbojI

— florin hilbay (@fthilbay) July 11, 2018

Legit nga ang sign, I saw it just now. “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” pic.twitter.com/svzDDQeFVR

— Zaldy III (@zaldynamic) July 12, 2018

TAKE DOWN ALL PROVINCE OF CHINA BANNERS!
TAKE DOWN ALL BONG GO BILLBOARDS AND TARPAULINS!
TAKE DOWN ALL MOCHA, BATO, ALVAREZ BANNERS!

ALL THESE BASURA HAS NO PLACE ON EARTH!

— Vince (@vincebalahan) July 12, 2018

The "Province of China" tarp is a disgrace to our country. People behind this should be punished.

— Erik Ventura (@simplyedcv) July 12, 2018

"Province of China" pic.twitter.com/fDt7CNOacl

— Joseph Remnard (@Cakenard) July 12, 2018

Many have theories on who could possibly be behind it and what reason they must have. Is it a prank or an attack on the administration’s close relation to China? Is it a protest or a cheap shot at trolling the public? Is this an attempt to “test the waters” or a ploy to condition the mind of the public?

Is this part of the pre-SONA destabilization plot?

The malicious tarpaulin bannering PHL as a "Province of China" is mounted on a footbridge in Quezon Ave. & D. Tuazon St., 2 blocks away from Banawe St. where a huge concentration of Chinese businesses is located. Coincidence? pic.twitter.com/o6KrMHj6SL

— Pinoytapsilog (@pinoytapsilog) July 12, 2018

What's up with all the "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" tarpaulins around Metro Manila? Ano 'to, testing the waters??? Sobrang lala maka-public conditioning.

(photo from Ronald Gustillo on fb) pic.twitter.com/KSNZ5Vdpab

— Isko (@iskolarspeaks) July 12, 2018

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says tarpaulin mocking Philippines as province of China a “sign of protest” and “signals loss of support and respect” for administration when people joke about it

— Willard Cheng (@willardcheng) July 12, 2018

It may also be read as a welcome sign to a delegation from the Province of China, welcoming them to the Philippines. 😊 https://t.co/DK7VvIt48y

— Ruffy Biazon (@ruffybiazon) July 12, 2018

Pero.

If you will look at the sentence,

"Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China"

May comma siya bago ang "Province of China"

It MAY suggest na winewelcome natin ang Province of China sa Philippines (??)

English frennies, correct me if I am wrong hahahahaha

— marc amiel ☯️ (@mawcpascual_CPA) July 12, 2018

One netizen who shared how he took down one of the tarpaulins on his own, said that he thinks the “fake media” and “activists” were behind it when asked by an Inquirer Radyo reporter.

Ang sabi ko kay Kuya Inquirer…Reporter:"Madaling araw pa may naglagay dito sa poster na ito? Bakit naglakas loob ka…

Posted by Jeremy Salomon on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

This led to some people thinking that the banners could be an anti-administration tactic by the media and bashed the said reporter on the post. Award-winning journalist and Inquirer Radyo announcer Arlyn Dela Cruz released an official statement saying that the “interview” was just a chance encounter with reporter Jong Manlapaz who happened to be there to do his job.

Consider this an official statement.The post of Jeremy Salomon is clear.Our reporter Jong Real Manlapaz merely…

Posted by Dela Cruz Arlyn on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The banners were already taken down and according to MMDA, it may have been “mistranslated” as the controversial banners were just supposed to welcome Chinese delegates on an incentive tour in the country.

As per @MMDA, these tarpaulins may have been "mistranslated," said to be welcoming banners for Chinese delegates on an incentive tour in the country. Neither the Tourism Promotion Board nor the MMDA permitted the posting of these tarps. | @krixiasINQ https://t.co/96w9BnfayR

— Inquirer Metro (@InqMetro) July 12, 2018

The tarpaulins have been taken down by street sweepers.

The posting of these signages timed with the second anniversary of the Hague tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. #WestPHSea | @krixiasINQ

— Inquirer Metro (@InqMetro) July 12, 2018

But for some people, it doesn’t matter anymore who the culprit is or what the banners truly mean. What matters is that Filipinos should take a stand and not let our country—the one our heroes died for—to be a province of China.

CAN WE NOT POINT FINGERS AND JUST AGREE AS CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY THAT WE NEVER HAVE BEEN AND WILL NEVER BE A PROVINCE OF CHINA??? https://t.co/Qx5wrP3ww2

— Angs, the Avatars (@aaangs) July 12, 2018

Sorry to Chinese members. Mahal ko kayo but Philippines will always be Bansang Pilipinas. It will never be a Province of China.

This photo was taken at Sun Valley NAIA, Pasay near Terminal 1 and 2.
© Ryan Pontejos pic.twitter.com/vO9TLmlMtw

— HONEY SMILE (@Ten022796_) July 12, 2018

For many years, we have fought hard and shed blood for our independence—for us to be able to walk freely without any governing foreign body killing us and enslaving us on our own land. We have come a long way for us to accept defeat and let another country conquer us again. And in these trying times, when history seems to be repeating itself and serious issues about our sovereignty can easily turn into a joke, we ask: “What are we going to do about it?”

I don’t know the agenda behind the “Province of China” banner, its supposed meaning, or its intention. But I love how it makes everyone squirm, cringe, and get uncomfortable. That’s it. Something’s terribly wrong w/ this country and the question is what are we gonna do about it.

— Vec Alporha (@vec_alporha) July 12, 2018


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