The Gist


A Binondo-based product labels Manila as a Province of China. Either it’s a grave mistake or misinformation, this continuing pattern calls for major attention.

/ 24 August 2020

It never ends. The propagating Chinese influence in our country is becoming more evident, thereby leading to more confusion with certain notions that link the Philippines as a province of China. Whether it’s a insensitive error caused by misinformation or an inexcusable labeling, it calls for major attention and discussion.

Binondo-based hair product, Ashley Shine Keratin Treatment Deep Repair, made headlines for its packaging that states “Manila Province, P.R. China” as its address. The product is distributed by Elegant Fumes Beauty Products Inc. owned by a Chinese National. 

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles called out this blatant label and has written a complaint to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for its detestable and repulsive offense against our nation. In his complaint letter he recommends, “any act to undermine our sovereignty must be taken seriously.” He steers clear that it’s more than just a simple error and asks for the company to be blacklisted as soon as legally permitted. He also notes that the product has circulated the market since 2018 with the same address and its succeeding batches has already been omitted as of declaration. But regardless of the case, he justifies that the offense remains the same.

The news has since reached the Malacanang and regards the claim of Manila as a province of China as nonsense. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a presser states, “Sa akin, kalokohan po yan. Hindi po dapat pinapansin ‘yan.” He adds, “Wala namang naniniwala na tayo’y probinsya ng Tsina. Alam naman natin na lahat ng Pilipino ay nagmamahal sa bansa.” 

Roque also clarifies that the FDA can only blacklist such products, if proven guilty, in the Philippine market. “Sa tingin ko po ang FDA po ang magdedesisyon diyan dahil merong criteria for blacklisting. I think one of those is kung merong banta sa kalusugan ng mga gagamit nito,” he exclaims. 

It’s alarming just having the thought of it as an error can be possible when the issue has been on the radar since the current administration’s close ties with China.

Manila Mayor and social media favorite, Isko Moreno also cried foul over this abominable mistake, thereby closing down the establishment. In a tweet, the mayor highlighted a zero-tolerance policy on this kind of false information. In a message posted on August 20, it was reported that the business has already been closed due to this unacceptable insult.

In a separate post, the public official reiterated and encouraged Manilenos to be on the lookout for these kinds of wrong information and issued a threat to those who would attempt to follow the closed business establishment’s insinuations.

Back in 2018, President Duterte, in his usual “joking” manner, called out to Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding China’s promise not to build any infrastructure in the Scarborough Shoal. “Kung gusto niyo, gawin niyo na lang kaming province, parang Fujian.” To which he followed with “Province of Philippines, Republic of China”.

In May this year, a geotag on Facebook and Instagram surfaced with the label “Philippines, Province of China” with tens of thousands of check-ins. It was also dismissed by Roque while calling out Vera Files and Rappler for the news. “I also call the attention of Vera Files and Rappler. They are the fact verifiers on Facebook. Why did they let this slip them? They should flag all fake news because this is clearly fake news and is not worthy of comment.” Geotags are easily created by anyone. So, when the controversial geotag on Google Maps was found pinned to Malacañang Palace and labeled it as a grocery store, Google immediately deleted it and made the process of creating geotags stricter to filter fake entries.

Then in June, at the time of lockdown, viral photos of special Chinese help desks on police stations circulated. However, PNP cleared the issue by stating that these are old public photos during the time when the Chinese embassy sought help on the rising cases of Chinese nationals linked in crimes such as kidnapping and casino loan shark operations that are related to POGOs. Following these efforts, PNP-AKG also announced that they’ve sent some members to China to learn Mandarin, as funded by the Chinese government, so they can better facilitate police operations in the Philippines that involve Chinese nationals. 

In the same month, reports of government officials and the press receiving messages saying “Welcome to China” in their visit to the Pag-Asa Island, drew flak on the internet. The issue, however, was later on cleared by representatives from the telco provider, with claims that those were signals from the mobile operators in Vietnam and China who are roaming partners.

Then there’s also issues of POGOs that continue to operate despite the lockdown. On March 15, operations were suspended however on May 1, certain licensed POGOs were allowed to partially operate by PAGCOR but in reliance on strict health protocols.

While the diplomatic ties with China comes with its pros, there’s a blur in its midst that people are becoming wary that in the long run may only lead to serious diplomatic affairs.