On calling Philippines "Land of COVID" by Thailand newspaper, Palace says two countries "fierce" tourism competitors
Malacañang shrugged off on Monday a report by a newspaper in Thailand, calling the Philippines as the "Land of COVID."
However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque accused the local newspaper that calling the Philippines as such could have been motivated by the fact that Manila is a strong competitor of Bangkok in terms of tourism.
"You know, that's correct and I can't deny it. But there is also no way we can control what our neighbors say," he said in an interview by CNN Philippines when asked about the headline of Thai Rath, calling the Philippines the "Land of COVID-19."
"But do not forget that we are fierce competitors with Thailand when it comes to Tourism. So I’m sure their statement that we are the 'Land of COVID' is also motivated by the fact that they are struggling to invite people to come visit Thailand again. And of course, they’re worse off in so far as they have a bigger tourism industry than us, so that’s the context by which we should listen to this comment coming from our ASEAN neighbors," Roque added.
He said Thailand and the Philippines are the "closest of friends but we’re also the closest competitors as far as economic interests are concerned because we’re dealing with exact same commodities and in the case of Thailand, it’s tourism in particular."
But he said what is important is people know the overall context of how the Philippines is doing.
He noted that the Philippines has the highest testing being conducted in Southeast Asia and it even exceeded the COVID-19 testing being done in South Korea and Japan.
A Philippine Embassy official in Bangkok called the attention of Thai Rath over its headline for being "inappropriate, insensitive, and unhelpful" during the time when members of ASEAN are working together to address the problems caused by the pandemic. Celerina Monte/DMS