MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Thursday said it fully supports the move not to stamp entry and exit visas on Chinese passports bearing a map that claims Beijing owns almost the entire South China Sea.
In a statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the action is a form of diplomatic protest against Beijing.
"Ayon kay Foreign Affairs Secretary [Albert] del Rosario, ang ginawang pagsama ng Tsina sa disputed territories sa kanilang mga e-Passport ay isang paglabag sa batas, partikular sa UNCLOS. Ang napagpasyahang panibagong proseso ay ang pagtatak sa isang hiwalay na visa form sa halip na tatakan ang e-Passport. Ang ginawang pagtangging tatakan ang mga passport na ito ay isang protestang diplomatiko," she said.
The Philippines and Vietnam have condemned the new microchip-equipped passports, saying the map they incorporate violates their national sovereignty by marking disputed waters as Chinese territory.
The DFA chief said it has already filed a diplomatic protest before Beijing and then followed it up by refusing to stamp visas in the new passports.
Instead, all exit and entry visas will be stamped on a separate visa application form and attached to the Chinese passports.
"We are saying, 'That's fine. You can come into the Philippines but we will not stamp the passports, which has this imprint,'" del Rosario said in an ANC interview.
"We want to make sure that we are not endorsing that which we are protesting," he added. With Agence France-Presse