A Filipino embassy official in Bangkok called out a local conservative newspaper for saying that the Philippines is the “land” of the coronavirus.
In an open letter sent to Thai Rath‘s editor, Consul General Val Simon Roque said that the newspaper’s Aug. 9 article was “inappropriate, insensitive, and unhelpful.”
Entitled “Imported, Filipino teachers. Land of COVID-19,” the article reported on the arrival of 165 English teachers from the Philippines in Bangkok. The article pokes fun at the fact that the Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, with 136,638 recorded as of yesterday.
Roque said that the embassy wants to “assure Thai Rath, its readers, and all of our Thai friends that the Filipino teachers and other Filipinos returning to the Kingdom are following and will strictly follow all the health protocols and quarantine conditions promulgated by the Royal Thai Government.”
Roque urged the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Khun Saravut, “to find [the] space in your newspaper” and publish his letter so the publication could “promote unity and harmony” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Filipino teachers will reportedly teach English in several privately-run Bangkok schools. The Thai government has allowed the entry of at least 3,000 foreign English teachers, mostly from the Philippines, to teach in the kingdom. Some had previously taught in Thailand while the others were newly-hired. The government assured Thais that all Filipino teachers will be screened to ensure that they are not infected with the coronavirus.