The stamping by Philippine consulates in China of a design depicting the farthest extent of Philippine territory on top of China’s ‘’nine-dash-line’’ stamp on the passports of its citizens was just plain ‘’ingenious.’’
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, thus, commended Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin for generating this idea to impress upon China that the Philippines continues to exercise sovereignty over territories that China is also claiming as its own.
China’s claim to its so-called historical territory in the South China is a drawing of a broken line encompassing most parts of the South China Sea.
If Chinese workers or tourists do not want to have their passports stamped with the Philippine-designed visa, then ‘’don’t come to my country,’’ Locsin said.
This was Locsin’s explanation on the DFA-designed stamp during a briefing by the DFA before the Senate foreign relations committee chaired by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.
DFA officials, led by Locsin, explained their programs and problems, particularly on the rejection by China of a United Nations Arbitration Court of its ‘’historical’’ claim over the South China, including the Philippine government’s West Philippine Sea (WPS) territory.
Defense officials complained that the continued passage of Chinese vessels through Philippine waters without giving advance notice was getting to be irritating.
Locsin recalled that former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario followed the example of stamping its visa on Chinese tourists on a piece of paper.
Last June 21, del Rosario was denied entry into Hong Kong, and had to return the Philippines after a six-hour ordeal.
Vietnam is one of several Southeast Asian countries having territorial claims over the South China Sea.
Locsin said the drawback of this scheme was that tourists can just claim they lost their visas stamped on a piece of paper.
He said Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Dominguez had complained that his department was having difficulty in looking for these ‘’tourists’’ or ‘’workers’’ for tax purposes after the DFA adopted the Vietnam scheme.
Asked by Gatchalian on the status of Chinese tourists who do not go to Philippine consulates abroad but later get work permits for a few months after arrival in the country, Locsin that this issue is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) which is under the Department of Justicer.
Locsin said that, if China was really serious with its objection to their citizens going into on-line gambling, then it should tell its nationals not to apply for Philippine visas.
After commending Locsin for coming up with this ‘’ingenious’’ visa scheme, said the Locsin formula asserts Philippine territorial claim over these areas and allows the country to keep track of these workers or tourists.
‘’We will be hitting two birds with one stone,’’ Gatchalian said.
Asked by Pimentel on how the Senate could help the Senate, Locsin said he could initiate calls to share information and seek the advice of the Senate.
‘’This is the way it is done in a real Republic,’’ Locsin said after Pimentel said his committee would soon ask for specialized briefing on various issues, including the WPS issue.