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'E di Wow China': Filipinos unimpressed by radio show, say local airtime wasted

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
'E di Wow China': Filipinos unimpressed by radio show, say local airtime wasted
'Wow China' radio host and program
Radyo Pilipinas / Philippine Broadcasting Service and China Radio International, screenshot by @jysnpchc via Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — The state-run Radyo Pilipinas is facing deafening feedback after its latest airing of the now-controversial program “Wow China" came under fire due to the recent ABS-CBN shutdown and the ongoing novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

"Wow China" has been running in Radyo Pilipinas since 2018.

The "cultural-feature program that mainly focuses on China’s and Philippines’ tradition, culture and history and its differences and similarities" is a collaboration between the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) and China Radio International.

"Wow China" seeks to improve our relations with the Chinese, according to the show’s opening message.

Filipino Internet users, however, couldn’t be less interested in friendship due to the long-running bad blood between the Philippines and China over the latter’s encroachment of the Philippines' territory and sovereignty.

Related: Philippines protests China's self-declared South China Sea districts, naming of Kalayaan features

China has maritime disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea with the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. Over $5 trillion in trade passes yearly through the waterway.

Related: With world busy fighting coronavirus, China quietly builds installations on Philippine-claimed reefs

Notwithstanding, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly expressed support for the country, claiming the position of the Philippines and China as “allies.”

Related: Duterte highlights Philippines-China ties in Chinese New Year message | Duterte says he might seek China’s help on COVID-19 outbreak

Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros has since voiced concerns over "Wow China," calling to cancel the show immediately, and demanding an explanation from PBS and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

“PCOO should be fulfilling its mandate of helping the Filipino people with relevant and timely information especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. But instead, it is allowing a program that promotes China and its state ideology. Filipino taxpayers should be indignant that we are essentially paying for a radio show that promotes China's policies,” Hontiveros said in a Tuesday statement.

Twitter users agreed with Hontiveros, asking why the Philippines shutdown its own TV network but tolerates another that promotes Chinese values.

"Ipinasara ang atin, tinatangkilik ang sa mga dayuhan. (Disappointed but not surprised)," said one Twitter user.

"ABS CBN was shut down and Radyo Pilipinas is now promoting a foreign show. It shows a lack of patriotism," said another.

"In response to PH state media, Philippine Broadcasting Service running a Chinese Show titled "Wow China”, we shall not condone this kind of activity that not only offends our nationalism but neglects the ongoing issues we have due to territorial disputes and COVID-19 crisis," added another.

CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL

PBS

PHILIPPINES CHINA RELATIONS

PHILIPPINE BROADCASTING SERVICE

RISA HONTIVEROS

WOW CHINA

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