Remember how the airing of “cultural” program Wow China on state-owned station Radyo Pilipinas riled up a number of Pinoy netizens? It looks like one lawmaker wasn’t too happy about it either.
This much was apparent when Senator Risa Hontiveros issued a statement today, unambiguously calling for Wow China to be “canceled immediately.”
Hontiveros right off the gate said that she was “very disturbed that there is a radio program called ‘Wow China’ that airs on Radyo Pilipinas 738, a state-owned AM radio station of the Philippine Broadcasting Service [PBS] under the Presidential Communications Operations Office [PCOO].”
The senator questioned the timing of the broadcast, saying that instead of producing the show, the government should provide more “relevant and timely information especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Instead, it is allowing a program that promotes China and its state ideology. Filipino taxpayers should be indignant that we are essentially paying for a radio show that promotes China’s policies,” she said.
“We have let Chinese propaganda reach our shores. They are already encroaching on the West Philippine Sea, are we also allowing them to take over our radio?” Hontiveros added in English and Filipino.
Just a few weeks ago, Pinoys took to social media to protest against the music video One Sea, which has been accused of being a propaganda video that aimed to portray China as the Philippines’ savior in the fight against COVID-19.
China has built military structures on the West Philippine Sea over the years and has long been intimidating Pinoy fishermen on the disputed territory, despite a 2016 decision by a Netherlands court that invalidated Beijing’s claims over the area.
Hontiveros also pointed out that Wow China’s broadcast contradicted the Duterte government’s stand on foreign ownership in local media.
“It is also very hypocritical how the government is critical of alleged foreign ownership of other Filipino-owned media entities but is aiding and abetting this clear foreign encroachment in our own,” she said.
Hontiveros is likely referring to Rappler and ABS-CBN, which the government has threatened to shut down because they were allegedly foreign-owned. Rappler has maintained that the charges from the government were politically motivated, and ABS-CBN has said that it allows foreign investments but are 100% Filipino-owned.
“‘Wow China’ should be canceled immediately. PCOO and PBS should likewise be made to explain to Filipino taxpayers why it allowed the airing of Chinese state propaganda in a government-owned radio station,” the senator said.
“For me, this is a betrayal of the Filipino people. Our state media should always place Filipinos’ interests and welfare first,” she added.