Ejercito to China: Respect PH’s claim on West PH Sea before tourism blacklisting
MANILA, Philippines — Recognize the claim of the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea before placing the country on the tourism blacklist, Senator JV Ejercito told China on Wednesday.
The West Philippine Sea is the official designation by the government of the Philippines to parts of the South China Sea that are included in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“Before threatening the Philippines with a ban on Chinese tourists, China should first respect our territorial integrity. Ibalik niyo muna ang (Return to us the) West Philippine Sea,” Ejercito said in a statement.
Ejercito’s call for respect for country’s claim on the West Philippine Sea came after Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri announced that the country is included in China’s tourism blacklist over the continuous activities of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOS).
Zubiri’s statement, however, was denied by the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
The Senate President then said the message from Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on the tourism blacklisting may have been “lost in translation.”
Meanwhile, Ejercito praised the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to lower POGO-related incidents.
The PNP recently reported that there had been 38 POGO-related cases since the year started. But, no POGO-related crime was logged this month due to increased police visibility.
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