SWS: 4 of 10 Filipinos doubt China’s intention towards PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2019   •   2179

FILE PHOTO: A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

MANILA, Philippines – A recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 4 out of 10 Filipinos do not believe that China’s intention towards the Philippines is beneficial to Filipinos.

The survey, fielded in December 2018 among 1,440 respondents, found that 44 percent of Filipino adults disagreed with the statement: “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.”

22 percent said they strongly agree with the statement while 29 percent “somewhat disagreed,” the SWS survey findings stated.

The survey results were released amid reports about the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines, loan deals between the Manila and Beijing and the long-standing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañang on Monday slammed the recent SWS survey, branding it as “political propaganda” employed by the Duterte administration’s ardent critics and detractors.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo expressed hope that more Filipinos would appreciate the relation between the Philippines and China once they see its positive effects on the economy.

Panelo also added that Filipinos must understand that the government’s move to diversify the country’s allies is intended for the sole benefit of the Filipino people and not for any foreign race.   

“We are seeing that there would be a change of hearts and minds from those undecided and even those who disagree—whom we believe are used to the United States as our long-standing ally—once our enhanced ties with China start to yield positive economic results,” Panelo said in a statement.

In line with SWS recent survey, the UNTV News and Rescue went around to ask some Filipinos about their thoughts on whether China’s intentions are good for the Philippines.

Of the 10 individuals interviewed on the street by the UNTV news team, 8 have expressed doubt about the warming ties between Manila and Beijing.

Most of the interviewees expressed fear that China will invade the Philippines, in reference to reports about Chinese vessels that “swarmed” near disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea, bullying local fishermen against entering the resource-rich lagoons.

The other two expressed neutrality on the issue, saying China has helped the country in some ways such as trading, investments and financing some of the government’s infrastructure projects.

Professor Jay Batongbacal, Director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, offered his view on why some Filipinos continue to distrust China despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s high praises for his newfound ally.

“China had a huge trust deficit to begin with, ever since. Recent controversies have probably magnified that lack of trust and fuels suspicions about China’s intentions despite its constant attempts to portray then as otherwise,” he said.

“Government’s tendency to bend over in defending China aggravates the distrust and suspicion even more,” he added.

Duterte has recently told China to back off from Pag-asa Island and vowed to never allow China to occupy the island long-held by the Philippines.

READ: Duterte tells China: Back off from Pag-asa island

Duterte’s rare remark against Beijing came after the Philippine military warned that hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted in the disputed waterway in the first quarter of 2019.

The President, however, assured he is prepared to reach for a compromise with China and that there is no need for the Philippines to use force against its more powerful neighbor. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Panelo: One-on-one interview with Duterte to push through on Tuesday

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

After its postponement on January 22, the one-on-one interview with President Rodrigo Duterte will push through on Tuesday (January 28), said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday.

The January 22 schedule for the one-on-one interview was postponed due to “pressing family matters”.

“Due to pressing matters, the tête-à-tête Part 2 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo has been moved to January 28, 2020 at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace at 5:00 p.m.,” a previous media advisory read.

This will be the President’s second têtê-a-têtê. The first televised interview was held last September 2018.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

China bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.

This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.

Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.

China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.

These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.

As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.

So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.

Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.

Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.

PH Customs to bury seized ASF-tainted products

Robie de Guzman   •   January 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs at the Manila International Container Port (BOC-MICP) on Monday said it is set to bury seized meat products that tested positive for the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

In a statement, the BOC said the meat products that were confiscated from a container van include boxes of dumplings, pork-chicken balls and roast chicken wings.

The container was consigned to Dynamic M Int’l Trading Inc. which arrived at the Manila North Harbor last December 11, 2019 from China and was put under an alert order for suspicion of containing misdeclared items.

The bureau said the abovementioned food items, particularly the pork-celery dumplings, indicated the presence of the ASF virus after they were subjected to examination and laboratory tests by the Veterinary Quarantine Services.

The agency noted that the seized items were not covered by any Sanitary permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Agricultural items not covered by such permits may carry plant diseases and pests that can affect local agriculture.

The confiscated shipment violated the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, the BOC said.

An inter-agency team was ordered to immediately dispose of the shipment in order to prevent the spread of the ASF virus, it added.

The BOC, however, did not provide details on when and where it plans to dispose of the ASF-tainted meat products.

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