Rising criminality in PH a spin by Chinese state media—Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Is the crime situation in the country really worsening?
Malacañang on Wednesday said it is nothing but a political spin by Chinese state-run media.
“That’s the spin of the editorial,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. “We’re saying that we don’t politicize criminality. It’s a situation that we are going to address.”
The Philippines and China remain embroiled in a dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), along with other neighboring countries. This has led to tense relations between the two countries.
A commentary published by China’s Xinhua cited data from the Philippine-based Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order, headed by Teresita Ang-See, that there were 50 victims of kidnapping in the country since the start of the year.
“Of the 50 victims, 17 of them were Chinese-Filipinos,” the commentary, authored by Filipino journalist Alito Malinao, said, adding that the Chinese-Filipino community had long been bothered by the situation.
Similar reports earlier prompted the Chinese government to issue a travel advisory against the Philippines.
It’s fun in the Philippines
But Lacierda insisted that the situation was not as worse as reported by various Chinese media.
“That is not correct. We are very very well aware of the need to maintain peace and order. Even some of the claims that were made were not even related to tourism,” he explained, recalling an editorial by Global Times that called the Philippines a “quasi-rogue” state.
Lacierda said that the country’s “law and order protection applies to everyone.”
“We would like to assure our Chinese friends, ‘Come visit us, it’s fun in the Philippines,’” he said.
At the same time, with tour operators forced to suspend their tour packages for the Philippines, the government has started to look elsewhere for business.
“We’ve always been looking at other markets for tourists. That’s also one way to make sure that we can expand (despite the ban),” Lacierda said.
EU backs PH, peace
He dismissed Malinao’s assertion that the only reason European countries expressed support for the Philippine stand against China was that he was a guest. The writer added that Aquino made the mistake of raising the West Philippine Sea dispute as he met with the European leaders.
“I think all countries would prefer a peaceful resolution to a conflict situation. No country would prefer a violent resolution,” Lacierda said.
“If the European leaders welcomed the statement of the President it is because it is also in line with their interests.”
He said all the leaders that Aquino met during his trip abroad were in support of the Philippine decision to undergo peaceful arbitration through the United Nations.
On the other hand, China has refused to participate in the arbitration, offering instead to hold bilateral talks with the Philippines.
Beyond maritime dispute
Lacierda added that the relationship of the two countries should not be focused on the maritime dispute.
“We have more tourists going to China than tourists coming from China. We have more investments coming from the Philippines, investing in China, than investments in China coming to the Philippines,” he pointed out.
“We have deliberately not made any statement to make the situation worse,” he said.
Why not, doughnut?
Asked if Aquino would be willing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to mend ties, Lacierda said in jest, “If the situation arises why not, doughnut?”
“The relationship between China and the Philippines goes a long way,” he added.
He said the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, which said Aquino had done little to improve China-Philippines relations, focused only on the South China Sea dispute despite it not being the end-all and be-all of the two countries’ relationship.
“It is multi-faceted,” he said.