MANILA (UPDATE) - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Thursday ordered the closure of several establishments selling beauty products that tagged the Philippine capital as a province of China.
Swiftly acting on information first bared by PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, City Hall shuttered two establishments in Binondo and another at a Divisoria mall.
City officials found the two Binondo stores already closed at the time of the operation. They posted closure notices on the rollup steel doors of the two establishments.
"Wala pong Binondo sa China, ang Binondo sa Maynila. 'Yan ay isang malaking insulto sa atin at hindi tayo papayag," Manila bureau of permits director Levi Facundo said.
(There's no Binondo in China. Binondo is in Manila. That's a huge insult to us and we won't allow that.)
The bureau will ask the establishments to produce its permit from the Mayor's Office, Manila Health Department, and Food and Drug Administration and will inspect products of nearby shops, Facundo said.
"Do not misrepresent. Tingnan po ang binibili niyo, kayo po ang magiging liable d'yan dahil kayo ang nagbebenta," Facundo told distributors.
(Inspect what you are buying because you will be liable for selling it.)
"Tingnan natin kung ang ibinebentang produkto ay may lisensiya coming from FDA, higit sa lahat 'yung labels bantayan po natin."
(Make sure the product is licensed before the FDA and inspect labels.)
Nograles earlier identified one distributor as Elegant Fumes Beauty Products, which he said was owned by a Chinese national.
"It is truly refreshing to know that Mayor Isko chose to take action even as some government officials simply dismiss this incident as a 'kalokohan' that must be ignored," he said in a statement.
Nograles said he had asked the trade department and the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the matter and urged lawmakers to penalize mislabeling on consumer products.
“Any act to undermine our sovereignty must be taken seriously. It is in this light that we respectfully ask your Office to immediately investigate this detestable and repulsive offense against our nation, and, if legally justified, prohibit the continued distribution of these products in our country,” he said.
“It is hard to dismiss this insult as a simple error. The label clearly shows Manila, as a province of China. This incident must be investigated at the very least, and the manufacturer and importer should be blacklisted, as soon as legally permitted."
In 2018, banners with the words "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" were hung on several pedestrian overpasses in Manila. This, amid improved ties between the two countries despite unresolved disputes over the South China Sea.
Earlier this year, the "Philippines province of China" geotag earned public ire after it trended on social media.
More details to follow.
- reports from Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News
Manila, Isko Moreno, Binondo, China, province of China, Jericho Nograles, Ashley Shine Keratin Treatment Deep Repair, Elegant Fumes Beauty Products