After the video of Vice President Sara Duterte using Mandarin in her greeting to China on its 73rd founding anniversary became the subject of debate on social media yesterday, a group of fisherfolk decided to deliver their own message to the Chinese in Mandarin — only this time, they demanded the superpower move away from Philippine waters.
Pamalakaya, which is a national organization representing small fisherfolk in the Philippines, posted a video on their Facebook page that showed their national spokesperson, Ronnel Arambulo, holding up an oar that reads “China, layas! (China, get out!)” while signs around him read “Atin ang Pinas (The Philippines is ours).”
The ten-second video ends with Arambulo saying in Mandarin, “China, out of the Philippine waters!”
“This is the message that needs to be delivered, not an insensitive greeting from a government official in the midst of Chinese aggression in our waters,” the organization wrote.
VP Duterte’s greeting was hotly debated on social media this week, and not just for her incorrect tone and accent — some viewed the gesture as ill-timed considering China is currently embroiled in a territorial conflict with the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea, and because the Philippines is still recovering from the worst typhoon to hit the country so far this year.
The Philippines won the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitration against China, in which the tribunal unanimously favored the Philippines over China’s controversial nine-dash-line claim — a ruling Duterte’s father, Rodrigo, ignored while he was president.