Duterte gov't to stamp PH map 'with entire EEZ' on China passports
MANILA, Philippines – What to do if a China passport that needs a Philippine visa stamp features the 9-dash line the Philippines rejects? Cover it with a stamp of the Philippine map with its "entire" Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
In a tweet on Tuesday, August 6, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr gave details of his proposal that President Rodrigo Duterte had approved in a Cabinet meeting the day before.
"The stamp has the map of the entire Philippine EZZ to its widest extent including Benham (Philippine) Rise along with other territorial claims. So tit for tat," said Locsin.
The foreign secretary also explained that stamping directly on Chinese passports instead of a form would enable the Philippine government to better keep track of the movements of Chinese nationals into the country.
"We will be able to keep track of Chinese nationals entering via visa from our consulates in China or visas upon arrival (after shorter vetting period) – hitherto stamped on slips of paper no one could keep track of. Now, visas stamped on permanent Chinese passports – so we know all," he said.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo mentioned Duterte's approval of Locsin's proposal in a statement earlier on Tuesday, but did not give details then. He gave more details in a Palace news briefing hours later, in response to questions.
Panelo said that Locsin presented to the President and the Cabinet the design of a stamp to be used on Chinese passports.
"Ang magandang nakita ko doon, may mapa ng Pilipinas na ilalagay kung saan nandoon lahat ng ating teritoryo pati 'yung pinag-aawayan, sa stamp mismo," Panelo said.
(The good thing I saw there was there will be a map of the Philippines with all our territories, including those being disputed, on the stamp itself.)
When told that Chinese e-passports contain an image of the 9-dash line, Panelo said, "Doon natin i-stamp. Pak (We will stamp it there. Pak)!"
This stamp is the Duterte government's way of addressing concerns that the newly-approved policy of stamping Chinese passports with the 9-dash line would be seen as recognition of China's claim to the West Philippine Sea. This claim was invalidated by the historic 2016 Hague ruling.
Panelo said the stamp is the Philippines' way of asserting its rights over the West Philippine Sea since the stamp would "cover" the 9-dash line image.
"Kasi mayroon ka nang stamp, ilalagay mo na. Kung may 9-dash line, natakpan mo na (Because if there is a stamp, you'll put it there. If there's a 9-dash Line, you will have covered it)," he said.
In 2012, when China first released its e-passports, the administration of Benigno Aquino III issued a verbal note in protest and refused to directly stamp the passports. Instead, Chinese nationals had to fill up a separate form and it was this form that was stamped by Philippine authorities.
Vietnam had also refused to stamp Chinese passports. Indonesia printed special visas embossed with its own map, similar to Locsin's proposal. – Rappler.com