Letting it slide: Palace urges for understanding over Thai paper branding PH ‘land of COVID-19’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday called for understanding over a Thai newspaper’s headline supposedly labeling the Philippines as “land of COVID-19.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued this appeal even as he railed at the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbor for having limited freedom of expression to criticize its own.
Consul general Val Simon Roque of the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok earlier expressed dissatisfaction over a local newspaper, Thai Rath, which article named the Philippines as “land of COVID-19” as it reported on the arrival of 165 Filipino teachers to be designated in private schools there.
“Wala po kasing kalayaan ng malayang pamamahayag at pananalita dyan sa Thailand. ‘Pag pinulaan mo yung hari, pupuwede kang makulong. Sa tingin ko po, dahil marami silang hindi pupuwedeng pulaan sa Thailand, pinulaan na lang nila tayo,” Harry Roque said in an online briefing.
(There’s no freedom of the press and of speech in Thailand. If you criticize their king, you may be put in jail. In my opinion, since they cannot criticize Thailand, they just opted to criticize us.)
“Intindihin na lang po natin ‘yan. Tayo naman dito sa Pilipinas, alam natin ang kahalagahan ng malayang pananalita. Tanggapin na lang po natin yan bilang input sa malayang merkado ng ideas,” he added.
(Let’s just understand them. We here in the Philippines know the importance of freedom of speech. Let’s just accept that as an input on the free market of ideas.)
On Monday, the Philippines recorded its highest single-day increase in new COVID-19 infections with 6,958. This brings the total number to 136,638, the highest among Southeast Asian countries.
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