PCG spokesperson warns vs Chinese-led tactics to taint his credibility

PCG spokesperson warns vs Chinese-led tactics to taint his credibility
This photo taken on April 23, 2023 shows a member of the Philippine coast guard vessel BRP Malabrigo manning his post while being shadowed by a Chinese coast guard ship at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday warned Filipinos about a China-led campaign to “taint” his credibility as a source of information about the country’s defense of the West Philippine Sea.

PCG spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said that China is currently engaged in a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the government’s transparency initiatives about the WPS, which include attempts to damage Filipino officials’ credibility.

Tarriela was commenting on a report by Philstar.com that documented a coordinated attempt by anonymous accounts to spread narratives alleging the PCG spokesperson was a covert “CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) agent” working for the United States government.

Tarriela said he has been a “prime target” of pro-China accounts that seek to frame him as a “biased source.”

“These falsehoods are designed to undermine the factual information I present, which exposes their bullying and aggressive behavior, and to argue that these accounts are fabricated to discredit Beijing's significant role in the region,” Tarriela said.

Besides accusing him of being a “pro-American figure,” the spokesman noted that several of the troll-like accounts have also “(delved) into my past and (referenced) a case from my time at the Philippine Military Academy in 2004 to further erode my credibility.”

PCG spokesperson was referring to the posts of some accounts and articles of two columnists reviving a 2004 article on a cheating incident at the Philippine Military Academy where Tarriela was one of the accused. 

RELATED: Anonymous accounts flood WPS discourse with ‘CIA agent’ accusations vs PCG spox 

The 2004 report — accessible on Philstar.com — mentioned that Tarriela and seven other cadets filed a complaint against the PMA for "(depriving) them of their constitutional right to due process" in its investigation of the alleged cheating incident.

“It is crucial to recognize these tactics for what they are: deliberate attempts to manipulate public opinion and thwart our efforts in the West Philippine Sea,” Tarriela said.

“We must remain vigilant in countering these disinformation campaigns by continuing to provide accurate information and involving the media to enhance public awareness,” he said.

“Only through these efforts can we expose the falsehoods and distortions perpetuated by the PRC to undermine our territorial integrity,” the PCG spokesperson added. — Cristina Chi

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