Filipinos are urged to mass report a geotag that identifies the Philippines as “Province of China” and “North Philippines, Province of China” on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
The geotag, which appeared over the weekend, has since drawn flak from Filipino netizens and public officials alike.
“Our heroes did not sacrifice their lives only for our country to be called ‘Province of China.’ This is an insult. A blatant disregard for our sovereignty. If you are still not enraged by this, you have no right to call yourself a Filipino,” a Facebook user posted.
Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros also condemned the geotag and insisted that it should be taken seriously even if some users treated it as a joke.
“Kahit biro pa itong ‘Philippines Province of China’ na geotag, wag nating hayaang ma-normalize ito (Even if this Philippines Province of China geotag is just a joke, let’s not allow this to be normalized). Let’s mass report,” she said in a tweet.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he does not think Chinese nationals would take the geotag seriously but warned that there will be consequences against them if they do.
“You’re giving it importance. Chinese are too smart to believe that crap; any of them tries coming over without a visa from me and he’ll be detained and sent back where he came from at his own expense,” he tweeted.
Malacañang, for its part, urged Vera Files and Rappler to flag the geotag.
“Tinatawagan ko ng pansin po ng Vera Files at Rappler, sila po yung mga fact verifiers ng Facebook. Bakit naman po nakalusot ito (I am calling the attention of Vera Files and Rappler because they are the fact verifiers of Facebook. How did this slip past them)?” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
He also dismissed the geotag as “fake news.”
“Sana po yung fake news ay talagang i-flag nila dahil ito po clearly fake news. Hindi na po dapat komentan (I hope they flag this fake news because it’s clearly fake news. I shouldn’t comment on it),” Roque said.