President Rodrigo Duterte’s “work from home” photo was featured on the front page of a locally distributed Chinese newspaper, prompting broadcaster-musician Lourd de Veyra to ask for a translation.
He shared a picture of the broadsheet and wrote on Facebook, “Guys, sino nakakaintindi? Kindly translate naman o.”
It gained various reactions from social media users who took turns making fun of the president’s activity being featured on a front page of a Chinese newspaper.
The caption of the photo is roughly translated as the following:
“The picture shows the ‘private photo’ that President Duterte sent to the Tourism Minister yesterday. He watched the American TV series on Netflix.”
The headline for its publication dated May 5, 2019 is translated by Google Translate as “Some scenic spots in Barra Bay face closure” in English.
It reports that Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has announced top beach destinations in Palawan would be closed following “bullheaded” local government officials’ refusal to cooperate with the Duterte administration’s clean up efforts.
World News is a Binondo-based broadsheet in the Philippines that is written in Chinese. It has been in circulation since 1981 and is owned by World News Publication Corporation with Florencio Tan Mallare as its publisher.
The newspaper is favored by pro-China organizations in the Philippines such as Filipino-Chinese Amity Club under the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Growing presence of China
The newspaper that De Veyra spotted might have been around for decades already but its presence in today’s landscape has brought a new meaning for Filipinos.
Since Duterte’s shift in foreign policy towards China, there has been a noticeable increase in the presence of Chinese mainlanders in the country.
Last February 2019, veteran journalist Philip Lustre Jr. shared a picture of Chinese nationals lining up in a photo booth of a shopping mall.
The picture raised concern among Filipinos who commented that the country has become a “province of China,” a phrase that references Duterte’s “joke” that China can “make” the Philippines its province.
Ramon “Mon” Tulfo, the country’s special envoy to China, justified the increasing presence of the Chinese by saying that developers prefer to hire them as workers instead of Filipinos, believing that the former is more competent and efficient.
Some local shopping malls have also started to cater to the Chinese, releasing Chinese-subtitled screenings of Marvel movie “Avengers: Endgame” to the dismay of Filipinos.
The dramatic increase of the Chinese in the country has been perceived as a threat to the labor and residential market of Filipinos.
The Philippines is currently facing a maritime territorial dispute with the Asian giant despite winning in the arbitration case in July 2016 that invalidated China’s claims over the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.