MANILA — Partido Lakas ng Masa vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello on Thursday criticized Manila City Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso’s alleged racist remarks against the Chinese.
Moreno earlier vowed to protect the West Philippine Sea in front of the fishermen in Bataan. However he used an alleged racial slur.
“ISKO MUST APOLOGIZE for using a well-known anti-Chinese slur in his campaign sortie in Bataan today. This is unacceptable: appeals to racism or racial prejudice should never be tolerated, especially during elections,” Bello said in a statement.
“Not only does Isko's choice of words show how low he will go for his political ambitions, but it also shows how dangerously unnuanced and amateurish foreign policy will be under an Isko administration,” he added.
Bello said it is imperative to protest against the Chinese government and fight for sovereignty but it should be observed with respect to the Asian community.
“We do need to protest against the aggressive and interventionist actions of the Chinese government (and other governments interfering in the West Philippine Sea)--but we should not confuse the Chinese government for the Chinese people,” he said.
“Chinese-Filipinos are a valuable part of the Filipino community and they too are victims of normalized racism. I condemn his racist remarks and urge all other candidates to condemn this as well.”
Moreno, meanwhile, said he would not apologize.
"I am referring Chinese mainlander … and I don’t care, I don’t sugarcoat. Those [navies], those fishermen from China [who] continue to occupy our space need not sugarcoat our words. And as I have said dealing with [West Philippine Sea] we will be fearless and we will be fair and we will be faithful to the Filipino people to the fisherfolk and the fishermen," he told reporters.
He noted that his remark has nothing to do with the Filipino-Chinese citizens and was just referring to mainlanders from China.
"If that offends them, I am offended dahil sinakop nila ang bansa natin but it has nothing to do with Filipino-Chinese, the Filipino-Chinese know it very well that I am referring to those mainlander, basta ako ganoon (I am like that)," he said.
"Kung na-offend sila, mas na-offend ako sinasakop niyo bansa namin eh."
(If they were offended, I am more offended that our county is being occupied.)
Bello is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, according to Laban Ng Masa.
The former lawmaker is among 29 vice presidential aspirants next year, including Dr. Willie Ong, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, and senators Kiko Pangilinan, Tito Sotto, and Bong Go. The list would be trimmed in the coming months to remove those found to be nuisance candidates.
Meanwhile, Moreno is among the 97 presidential aspirants including Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, labor leader Leody De Guzman, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, and former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.
The official campaign period for national position candidates for May 9, 2022, elections will start only on Feb. 8, 2022.