Expect more ‘pro-China’ trolls, says PCG official | Inquirer News
‘Lies’ about WPS

Expect more ‘pro-China’ trolls, says PCG official

05:34 AM February 24, 2024

Jay Tarriela

Commodore Jay Tarriela, Spokesperson of Philippine Coast Guard. PHOTO: Arnel Tacson/ INQUIRER.net

Expect more of them to come out of the woodwork.

An official of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) warned of an increase in “social media trolls and pro-China influencers” as the Philippines continues to expose Beijing’s “illegal actions” and “lies” concerning its maritime dispute with Manila.


Speaking before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) in Manila on Thursday, Commodore Jay Tarriela said Beijing would likely utilize various social media platforms to undermine Manila’s transparency efforts while masking its unlawful, provocative actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).


“We can expect an increase in social media trolls and pro-China influencers aiming to dominate the narrative, confusing both Filipinos and the international audience,” said Tarriela, the PCG spokesperson on matters relating to the WPS.

“Their narrative will revolve around the claim that the United States dictates Philippine government actions to further its own interests in the face of great power competition with China,” he added.

‘Assertive approach’

As part of a strategy made public in February last year, the country’s military and defense officials have been adopting what Tarriela earlier described as an “assertive approach” in exposing China’s bullying actions to the international community.

“I remain confident that our established transparency initiative will be robust enough to combat the lies and misinformation propagated by the People’s Republic of China,” he said at the Focap forum.

Through this initiative, he said, the PCG “has remained steadfast in providing factual accounts of the events in the West Philippine Sea.”

“By providing accurate information to the Filipino people about the situation in the West Philippine Sea, we can awaken their sense of patriotism, leading to unity in countering China’s actions in the region,” Tarriela said.


Election issue

“It is crucial to remember that our transparency is based on truth. At the National Task Force of the West Philippine Sea, we do not engage in propaganda because it is the truth that places our country on the moral high ground,” he added.

Tarriela said the WPS issue “has the power to unite (Filipinos) by transcending partisan politics” and that it is also “likely to become a political slogan leading to the 2025 midterm elections.”

But “given the heightened awareness among Filipinos regarding Chinese aggression, politicians may exploit patriotic sentiments for their own gain.”

“If a politician advocates for a more aggressive stance in the West Philippine Sea, leveraging the anger of Filipinos towards China, there is a higher risk of escalating tension,” Tarriela said.

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“These politicians may prioritize delivering speeches and pushing their own political agenda without adequately considering the potential repercussions on our national security and foreign policy,” he added. —Nestor Corrales

TAGS: China, Coast Guard, PCG, West Philippine Sea

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