'Don't fret' over sale of Chinese flags in Luneta, Locsin advises

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 10) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. advised those concerned over the sale of Chinese flags in Rizal Park, in Manila.

"Don't fret. They will be selling the US [United States] flag on Philippine-US Friendship Day as well; plus tarpaulin with the text of our Mutual Defense Treaty which threatens World War III when either party has been attacked by any country not invited to [the] party," Locsin said in a tweet Sunday.

Photos circulating online of vendors selling the East Asian giant's flag in the national park drew flak from netizens.

But a series of live Facebook video Sunday from National Parks Development Committee Executive Director Penelope Belmonte showed the vendors admitting they were paid ₱100 to act as if they were selling Chinese flags.

"Sa susunod sana, mag-isip tayo. Kahit mahirap tayo, hindi ₱100 ang presyo natin," she told the vendors.

[Translation: Next time, let us think. Even if we're poor, people cannot just buy us for ₱100.]

The NPDC also showed images from the park's closed circuit television (CCTV) allegedly being paid by three men to pose as if they were selling Chinese flags.

"Gumamit pa po kayo ng mga kababayan natin na mahihirap para maisakatuparan ang mga masasama ninyong gawain," she addressed the men in a separate video.

[Translation: You even used our poor fellow Filipinos just to push through with your evil plan.]

The incident comes at the celebration of Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day, officially declared by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Proclamation No. 148 series of 2002.

House National Defense and Security Panel Chair Ruffy Biazon took to Twitter to denounce the selling of the flags and called for action.

"R.A. 8491 prescribes National Flag Days from May 28-June 12 which enjoins everyone to display the Philippine Flag. Ironically,a foreign flag is being sold right in Luneta Park where a major Independence Day event will be held in a few days. Luneta Park administrators, wake up!" Biazon said.

However, he quickly retracted his statements upon seeing the Department of Foreign Affairs' announcement of the celebration.

“There is a reason for it, this shows. Happy Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day!” said Buizon who also mentioned the DFA’s tweet.

The DFA said Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day was declared to celebrate the country’s ties with the East Asian country.

“This day celebrates all that both countries enjoy together especially in the fields of political, economic, cultural & educational cooperation,” DFA said.

This comes amid complaints against Chinese workers allegedly working in construction companies in place of Filipino laborers. China has also continued to claim South China Sea despite an arbitration ruling that invalidated its stake.