Camarines Sur Vice Governor Imelda Papin denied Monday being a traitor to the country after she drew flak for singing the song Iisang Dagat (One Sea)—an initiative by the Chinese embassy in Manila which calls for unity and featured China’s aid to the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Papin was responding to scathing criticisms she got since the song was released amid reports that China continues its reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.
China’s intrusions, specifically the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters and declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province, prompted the Philippine government to lodge a diplomatic protest against Beijing five days ago for violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty.
“Hindi puwede maging traydor ang isang Imelda Papin. Hindi naman tama na sabihin iyon. Hindi naman nila ako binayaran. Ako po ang pinakiusapan, at ang intensyon ng kanta ay para magtulungan tayong lahat,” Papin said in an interview over Dobol B sa News TV.
“Hindi ko alam na iyon ay propaganda nila. Puwede natin ilayo roon sa issue [ng West Philippine Sea]. Kung alanganin tayo, bakit natin tatanggapin?” she added.
Papin said she was approached by the Chinese Embassy in Manila. She said she was assured that it is about standing together amid a pandemic, and it was meant to be a tribute to Chinese doctors who flew into the country to aid the Philippines in its fight against COVID-19.
“Ito ay paghawak-hawak ng kamay para sa magandang kinabukasan dahil sa kinahaharap nating problema. Tungkol po ito sa pagmamahal sa isa’t isa,” Papin said.
“Regalo po ito sa mga nagpunta rito na Chinese health care workers. Walang malisya at all,” she added.
Sinking Philippine vessel
In June 2019, a Chinese vessel sank Philippine fishing boat Gem-Vir 1, with 22 Filipino crew members on board, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
The 22 Filipino crew members were left to fend for themselves in the open sea for at least six hours before they were extended help by a Vietnamese fisherfolk who happened to pass by them.
In July 2016, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague already ruled in favor of the Philippines by rejecting China’s expansive nine-dash line claim of the entire South China Sea.
The same ruling also declared the Spratly Islands, as well as the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank are all within the Philippines' EEZ and outlawed China’s action of preventing Filipino fishermen to access Panatag Shoal which the UN Court deemed as a traditional fishing ground for both countries.—AOL, GMA News