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Pakana ng Dilawan? Chiz suspects demolition job behind ‘province of China’ banners

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By Xave Gregorio

Red banners declaring that the Philippines is a province of China scattered around the metro are most likely part of a black propaganda operation against the government, Senator Francis Escudero said.

Escudero told reporters Thursday (July 12) at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado that the “witty” and “annoying” propaganda banners would not come from the administration’s allies.

“Tiyak ko hindi ‘yan galing sa administrasyon dahil para nilang binaon ang sarili nila kung sila ang naglagay niyan,” Escudero said. “So malamang, bahagi ito ng paninira laban sa administrasyon.”

He added that Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque could easily defend the administration from the banners.

Roque also said he is sure “enemies of the government” are behind the banners.

The banners, which “welcome” people to the “Philippines, province of China,” were posted in Quezon City and near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on the second anniversary of the Hague’s ruling in favor of the Philippines against China.

President Rodrigo Duterte joked in February in front of Chinese-Filipino businessmen and Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua that China could make Philippines a province.

In a July 12, 2016 ruling, the international arbitral tribunal in Philippines vs. China struck down Beijing nine-dash line, which encompassed almost the entirety of the West Philippine Sea, as illegal.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay tweeted that the banners are “not funny,” especially on the anniversary of the ruling which critics say has been ignored and unenforced by the Duterte administration as it warms up relations with China.

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima accused the Duterte administration in a dispatch from Camp Crame of choosing to “forfeit the ruling the Aquino government has worked hard for.”

However, Roque assured that the Philippines would continue to assert the country’s rights over the West Philippine Sea as it also continues relations with China.