MANILA (UPDATE)—The Philippine immigration bureau announced Wednesday it would resume stamping passports of visiting Chinese nationals, following Manila’s reversal of a 7-year-old policy protesting Beijing’s expansive maritime claim.
Immigration officers were instructed to now place arrival and departure stamps next to Philippine visas on Chinese passports, Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave the go signal to stamp Philippine visas on such passports even if they were printed with a map showing Beijing’s nine-dash line.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague had invalidated this doctrine, which Beijing is using to claim more than 85 percent of the resource-rich South China Sea.
In 2012, the Aquino administration protested the nine-dash line prints on the e-passports, opting to have Philippine visas placed on a separate document.
“We support this policy update of the DFA,” Morente said. “In the past, we also expressed security concerns over the old practice because sheets of papers can easily be lost.”
TIT FOR TAT
Last August, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Philippine visas would now show the map of the “entire Philippine EEZ to its widest extent, including Benham Rise along with other territorial claims.”
“So tit for tat,” he tweeted then.
China’s nine-dash line images on its passport have no “legal effect” and whose “value is for propaganda purposes” only, said lawyer Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.
“It’s fair game,” he told ABS-CBN News.
“You counter act propaganda with your own propaganda in a way, but this time, at least, the Philippine stamp is reflective of the truth. It’s reflective as well of what is legal in international law.”