FIRING LINE: No apologies for China

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A couple of weeks ago, over the Shanghai city skyline, drones projected a giant QR code to hover in the darkness of thin air. The laser work had pinpoint precision that if you trained your smartphone in its direction and caught it, a game would be downloaded into your gadget.

I’m not stating this for you to be wowed by technological advancements in digital advertising. 

That sky over the city is like our West Philippine Sea; and the hovering QR code, like the maritime militia and coast guard ships of China that have invaded our Julian Felipe Reef so boldly. Any of our vessels or aircraft that catches sight of it moored by the dozens or scores or hundreds is like the smartphone that receives a radio challenge, sometimes threatening, and sometimes followed by shadowing and blocking.

“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F*** OUT.”

Oh, if I could just let that line sit over there and speak for this corner. Perhaps, with the right technology, even laser-print those words in the sky over our west coast territories for China to behold. They’re not my words, though, but those of Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Completing his most articulate message to Beijing, as of yet, he further tweeted: “What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province.”

Let me leave that line there, too, for – as my beloved professor in college, the late poet laureate Dean Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, would eloquently put it – “effect and effectivity.”

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Ah, but curses! A jester in the Palace of Malacanang was just as quick to piss so queerly on our country’s strongest verbal rejection of Chinese bullying. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. tells every Filipino that “only the President can swear” and as for all Cabinet members, “cursing has no place in matters of diplomacy.”

Look who’s talking! I want the President to run that by us all again because if I understand it correctly, Mr. Duterte has in one way or another cursed us all to our faces via his national live broadcasts – as media persons, as doctors and nurses, as elected officials, as teachers and students. He’s cursed us all, hasn’t he? But that’s all right to do to us Filipinos, but not to China!

Roque says further that Sec. Locsin has already apologized to Beijing for the profanity in his language via China’s ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian. Who is the President’s mouthpiece reassuring here? If there is any profanity in this whole affair, it’s China’s incursion into the maritime territories to which we have sovereign rights.

And just to be clear on this, Sec. Locsin later set it straight that his apology over his tweet was not meant for China, but only for its Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whom he considered his “friend.” So there. It has been clarified: Other than to State Counselor Wang, our Foreign Affairs chief is telling China and its swarming maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea: 


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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at