Teodoro tells public: Don’t fall for fake news, propaganda
ZAMBALES, Philippines — Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Friday urged the public not to fall for “fake news” and “propaganda” in view of China’s claim that the Philippines promised to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.
Teodoro did not delve into specifics, but it was China’s foreign ministry which claimed that the Philippines promised to tow away the grounded commissioned ship placed in the area since 1999 to assert Manila’s claim to the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Katulad ng sinasabi nila na may pangako kung sino man— gentleman’s agreement na hatakin ang BRP Sierra Madre mula sa Ayungin — kapag ating pinatulan yan, ang lalabas, tayo-tayo ang magtuturuan, tayo-tayo ang magaaway-away sa tanim na propaganda na ‘yan, tapos tawa ng tawa ang ating katunggali habang nagaaway-away dito,” Teodoro said in a press conference here in San Antonio town where he witnessed the joint naval drills between Australia and the Philippines conducted near the WPS.
(Just like what they said that someone entered a gentleman’s agreement with them to tow BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin, when we fall for that, we will just point fingers at each other and fight over that planted propaganda, while our opponents are just laughing while we are fighting each other.)
Instead, Teodoro urged the public to focus on the country’s interest instead of fighting over the issue.
“Kaya wag na nating patulan, mga kababayan, yung mga fake news na ganyan, tutukan na lang natin ang interest natin sa pagsuporta sa ating mga galaw patungo sa pag-secure ng ating exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at ang ating teritoryo,” Teodoro said.
(So let’s not fall for fake news such as this, let’s focus on our interest in supporting our moves to secure our own exclusive economic zone and our territory.)
“Nag-a-apela lang ako sa aking mga kababayan kung pupwede lang po, manaig po ang ating pag-iisip para sa ating bansa, rather than magaway-away tayo,” he added.
(I am appealing to our compatriots, let’s please think of our country’s sake, rather than fight with one another.)
Aside from Teodoro, former Department of National Secretary Orlando Mercado also said he was also not aware of any commitment made to China about BRP Sierra Madre.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the camps of former chief executives Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Rodrigo Duterte also denied that such a promise was made to China during their respective administrations.
The BRP Sierra Madre is a commissioned Philippine Navy vessel which has hosted a small contingent of military personnel in Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation about 194 kilometers off Palawan province that is well within the Philippines’ EEZ.
The ship, which the Estrada administration purposely made aground, recently hogged the headlines after a China Coast Guard vessel fired a water cannon at a Philippine Coast Guard vessel and a supply ship delivering food, water, fuel and other supplies to the Navy ship last August 5.