Broadcast journalist and senatorial candidate Jiggy Manicad has warned against election candidates grandstanding in relation to sensitive diplomatic issues amid territorial disputes in Scarborough Shoal.
“We must avoid turning these sensitive issues towards our advantage as political candidates. Hindi ito simpleng sortie o project na pwede po nating gamitin for publicity. The dispute is an extremely sensitive issue that should not be taken lightly,” Manicad said.
Manicad’s statement came a day after “Otso Diretso” candidates attempted to take a boat trip to Scarborough Shoal from Masinloc, Zambales for a symbolic planting of the Philippine flag.
Manicad, who is running as an independent for a Senate seat in the upcoming election, clarified that although the candidates’ stance on China taking control of certain areas within the Philippines’ jurisdiction should be discussed, candidates should still distance themselves from activities that could risk any provocation on the issue especially when the timing is “suspicious.”
“By all means, we should talk and debate about the issue because we are Filipinos and this concerns all of us. In fact, tama po ‘yung ginawa ng ating mga colleague sa media na sinubukan nilang kunin ang pahayag ng mga mangingisda roon,” Manicad said, referring to an attempt by a Filipino TV crew to conduct interviews in Scarborough Shoal documenting the plight of fishermen there last year.
The crew, however, was barred by the Chinese Coast Guard.