MANILA (UPDATE) - A segment promoting China in the Philippines’ government AM radio station is making the rounds online, with some questioning the airing of the show amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“Wow China,” according to its Facebook page, is a “cultural-feature program that mainly focuses on China’s and Philippines’ tradition, culture and history and its differences and similarities.”
It airs on state-owned Radyo Pilipinas, the flagship AM radio station of the Philippine Broadcasting Service, which is under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
The segment is a collaboration between PBS and China Radio International, China’s state-owned international radio broadcaster.
'Wow China' is introduced as an interesting discussion of Chinese culture, traditions and practices.
Episodes of the show have been posted on Wow China’s Facebook page as early as December 14, 2019, but it was the May 10 episode that caught netizens’ attention.
In the latest episode, the hosts talked a little about how to celebrate Mother’s Day during the lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and cities.
There was also a Chinese language lesson on numbers.
Facebook users expressed dismay at the airing of the 'Wow China' show on Philippine state radio.
Some said the government should use its resources to prioritize and promote Filipino culture instead.
Others also said the government should focus on COVID-19 response and providing people with proper information.
In a statement released Tuesday, PBS said the hour-long Wow China segment discusses the traditions, culture and history of both China and the Philippines in a light and informative matter.
"Co-hosted by a PBS anchor and broadcast in Filipino, the show features the traditions, culture, and history of both the Philippines and China; as well as the differences and similarities between the two countries. Its format is light, informative, and entertaining; in no way whatsoever does it espouse or promote a particular political view or cause," it said.
PBS also said it will continue disseminating relevant news and information to the public.
The PCOO earlier defended the planned airing of Tagalog-dubbed Chinese shows and movies over state-run television network PTV, saying these are informative and entertaining.
The current administration has forged friendlier relations with China despite the lingering disputes between Beijing and Manila in the South China Sea.
A Social Weather Stations survey conducted among adult Filipinos in September last year resulted in a -33 percent net trust for China. The United States, a former colonizer and the traditional ally of the Philippines, got a +72 net trust rating.