Malacañang on Thursday shrugged off the claim of a hair product that labeled Manila as a province of China.
“Kalokohan lang po ‘yan. Hindi dapat pinapansin ‘yan dahil wala namang naniniwala na tayo’y probinsya ng Tsina,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
The Palace’s reaction came after PBA party-list Representative Jericho Nograles asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to blacklist the Chinese hair care product Ashley Shine Keratin Treatment Deep Repair that labeled its address in Binondo, Manila as a “province of the People’s Republic of China.”
According to Nograles, the mislabeling of the product could have been deliberate as it was “hard to dismiss this insult as a simple error.”
Roque said the Palace recognizes the FDA’s “exclusive jurisdiction” to decide on Nograles’ request.
In February 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte joked before a gathering of Filipino-Chinese businessmen about making the Philippines a province of China.
But Zhao Jianhua, then-China’s ambassador to the Philippines, saw Duterte’s joke as a manifestation of wanting to have closer relations that became frosty when Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, took Beijing to court.
Relations between the Philippines and China have vastly improved under Duterte, who sought Chinese trade and economic aid while shelving long-running territorial disputes, including the United Nations arbitral tribunal case won by Manila in July 2016.
The ruling invalidated China’s historic claims in the resource-rich waters and spelled out the Philippines’ sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas fields within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
“We are proud to be Filipinos and we will never allow [ourselves] to be subjugated by any foreign power,” Roque said. — RSJ, GMA News