MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang assured the safety of Chinese citizens in the Philippines as it distanced itself from the protest actions against China being staged by certain groups Friday over a territorial dispute.
“We are going to certainly assure our Chinese friends [of] their safety,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda also cited the “very good relations” between the peoples of the Philippines and China.
“Sa totoo lang, ang dami naman nating mga Chinese dito. You would not know if they are from the mainland or from the Philippines. We have very good relations in terms of cultural exchange and our relations with China have been very good on a cultural level, on a familial level. So there is no reason for our Chinese friends and the Chinese Embassy to worry about the safety of their nationals,” he said.
The Palace distanced itself from the protest actions, saying these were organized by private citizens and that the "government has no hand" in it.
"We would ask our Chinese friends also not to look at this as something that is provoked by the government. The government has no hand in here. This was started by Filipino citizens who felt that they needed to express their opinion on this matter," he said.
Lacierda appealed to protesters to stage their demonstrations peacefully.
The Palace maintains that the Philippine government wants to resolve the issue diplomatically and peacefully.