No Enter the Dragon


Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales made the Philippines proud this week after she was refused entry for a few hours in China’s special administrative region, Hong Kong. Instead of bowing and entering Chinese territory after immigration authorities claimed there was a “mistake” in not allowing her entry, the feisty senior citizen instead decided to return home with her husband and grandchildren.

Such is the way of a real dragon.

As Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, the only reason he could think of for China’s reason to bar Morales’ entry was her and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s filing of an information before the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials of crimes against humanity over environmental destruction in the South China Sea and other acts.

Carpio-Morales and company took up the cudgels for Filipino fishermen who for years had been prevented from fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal until the Duterte administration’s pivot to China. They and their families will also bear the brunt of damaged marine resources.

The information may not prosper before the ICC, but its filing alone did serious damage to China’s international reputation, especially after another recent exposé on Chinese fishermen harvesting taklobos or giant clams in Panatag Shoal.