Saturday, May 11, 2024

China disinformation campaign validates PH transparency on WPS row

From the Philippine News Agency (May 10, 2024): China disinformation campaign validates PH transparency on WPS row (By Priam Nepomuceno and Raymond Carl Dela Cruz)

National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea spokesperson, PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – China’s intensified disinformation campaign on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and personal attacks against Philippine government officials prove that the country's transparency efforts have been effective, an official of the National Task Force for the WPS (NTF-WPS) said Friday.

NTF-WPS spokesperson, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Jay Tarriela, said the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) has increased efforts to carry out information operations and undermine transparency in the WPS through “lies, misinformation, and fake news.”

“Exposing their bullying tactics and countering their lies is important to ensure a better future for our next generation,” Tarriela said in a post over X.

The CPP, he said, has resorted to ad hominem or unrelated personal attacks against him and other Philippine government officials.

“Regardless of the ad hominem attacks they may throw at our truth-tellers and patriots who support our fight for WPS, we remain committed to being the messengers of our factual narratives,” he said.

He noted that the campaign over the WPS is for the good of the country and its future.

“I hope that the paid trolls or the pro-China influencers can be able to look straight in the eyes of their children and grandchildren that their fight is not for China’s interest,” he said.

On Wednesday, China announced it would release a recorded phone call between Western Command chief, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, and a Chinese diplomat about an alleged agreement to ease tensions in Ayungin Shoal.

In response, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. doubted the authenticity of the supposed audio recording due to the “propensity of the Chinese government to engage in malign information activities.”

Since last year, several similarly worded social media posts also alleged that Tarriela was a covert “CIA agent” or has been taking orders from the United States (US) Naval Institute or other US agencies.

Ado Paglinawan, a pro-China Asian Century Journal columnist, dubbed Tarriela “Tonto” or the Lone Ranger’s sidekick, the once popular US cowboy TV and film series.

In March, columnist Rigoberto Tiglao questioned Tarriela why he was kicked out of the Philippine Military Academy, following a heated discourse over the WPS on X.

Año wants ‘leakers’ out of PH

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año on Friday said individuals in the Chinese Embassy who are responsible for leaking the purported audio recording should be immediately removed from the Philippines.

"Those individuals in the Chinese Embassy responsible for violating Philippine laws and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and those responsible for these malign influence and interference operations must be removed from the country immediately," he said in a statement.

Año also echoed Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.’s view for the Department of Foreign Affairs to take appropriate actions against individuals for violating Philippine laws, particularly the Anti-Wire Tapping Act, as well as for serious breaches of diplomatic protocols and conventions.

"The Chinese Embassy's repeated acts of engaging in and dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation - now releasing spurious transcripts or recordings of purported conversations between officials of the host country - should not be allowed to pass unsanctioned or without serious penalty," he added.

Año also stressed that the unmistakable objective of the Chinese Embassy in its indiscriminate releasing of these falsehoods and smears has been and continues to sow discord, division, and disunity between and among the Filipino people.

"Bypassing official and long established channels and protocols, talking to officials without the requisite authorities or bona fides, then maliciously claiming that alleged discussions should bind the Philippine government is farcical, foolish, and reckless," he said.

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