By Charisa Luci-Atienza
Stop the hate campaign against Chinese nationals.
This was the appeal made by Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Mike Defensor on Tuesday, January 28, even as he asked the public to stop spreading fake news regarding the 2019-novel coronavirus.
“I hope Filipinos would cease not only from spreading fake news, and stop the hate campaign against the Chinese. I think it is unfair, it’s unacceptable and if at all we must pray for the people of Wuhan, for the people of China, for their safety and for their health,” Defensor told reporters in a press conference.
“This hate campaign against Chinese is wrong. It is not their fault, we should stop blaming our Chinese brothers, especially those from Wuhan. We should help each other out. This is not an issue of race or country. There is disease there, we should sympathize with them,” he said.
He said the public should stay vigilant and continuously monitor the situation. “Let’s not cause unnecessary alarm to people,” he said.
Defensor noted that his son, a fourth-year high school student, is studying Chinese language in China and went back home for the Chinese New Year celebration.
“Prior kagabi ang sabi sa anak ko puwede siyang bumalik ng February 7 after Chinese New Year, pero ngayon nag-advisory sila kahapon na February 17 na ang pagbubukas ng klase after Chinese New Year. Ibig sabihin mayroon talagang sitwasyon na nangyayari sa China sa ngayon,” he said.
(Prior last night, I told my son he can go back on February 7 after Chinese New Year, but they have been advised yesterday the the opening of classes is scheduled on February 17 after Chinese New Year. This means that there is a situation that is ongoing in China)
He said his son’s class has been suspended until February 17 as advised by the Chinese authorities.
“Last night, we have guests from China, Chinese families who served as the foster guardians of my son. They told me they were scared that the Philippine authorities would bar them from entering the country because of the coronavirus,” he said.
Defensor also welcomed the Bureau of Immigration’s decision to temporarily stop the issuance of visa upon arrival for Chinese tourists.
He also commended the Department of Health (DOH) for taking immediate action and for closely coordinating with other concerned agencies to strengthen the country’s preparedness against coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier asked the public not to engage in “infodemic” or spread fake news regarding the Wuhan coronavirus.