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Palace calls ‘Philippines, Province of China’ geotag ‘fake news’

Malacañang on Monday dismissed as “fake news” the Facebook location tag that referred to the Philippines as a province of China.

“Siyempre po wala namang katunayan iyan,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing. “Sana po iyong mga fake news ay talagang i-flag nila dahil ito po, clearly fake news, hindi na po dapat komentuhan.”

Roque also called the attention of Facebook’s third-party fact checkers VERA Files and Rappler.

“Tinatawagan ko ng pansin po ang VERA Files at Rappler, sila po iyong mga fact verifiers ng Facebook, bakit naman po nakalusot ito,” he said.

In a statement, VERA Files said it does not fact check location tags.

"As fact checker,VERA Files verifies false and misleading information made by public personalities and posts in social media and debunks them with factual evidence. We do not fact check location tags," it said.

"The Facebook tag of the Philippines as a province of China is a reflection of a sovereignty issue with China which should be addressed by the Philippine leadership," VERA Files added.

The location tag was criticized by Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said the Philippines was and will never be a part of China, which has insisted sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, including features claimed by Manila.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., however, said that the public was giving the matter a significance it did not deserve.

“[The] Chinese are too smart to believe that crap,” Locsin said on Twitter last Saturday. —LDF, GMA News