A demolition job?
"What if DND’s probe disproves Simularity’s allegation?"
Even after being exposed that the photo it had distributed to media to substantiate its claim if Chinese vessels’ dumping of human wastes into the contested areas in South China Sea, Simularity Corp. continues to insist it did not lie about the picture because it never claimed that it was of the Spratlys or that its research was based on this single image.
Really, Simularity? Then what’s the intention of distributing the said photo to the media in a press briefing wherein you claimed to have uncovered the dumping of human feces by Chinese vessels of the Spratly Islands?
Simularity also provided the media with satellite images which it interpreted as images of hundreds of ships anchored at the Spratlys allegedly dumping raw sewage into the reefs, adding that that the damage in the past five years is even visible from space and directly affects the fish stocks of the entire South China Sea.
But as not everyone is as techie as the people of Simularity, isn’t there a need for a third party to validate the firm’s interpretation of the images, which when viewed by a layman like me, is not inconclusive, but even unconvincing? (Thus maybe they need the reason to accompany them with a fake photo.)
The Florida-based company, which is said to have been funded by former officials of the Aquino government, also claims they are not in any way, “biased against the Chinese” as they claim they do science-based research and report based on their findings.
“If any country is doing things they should not be doing, and we can see that from satellite imagery, they are fair game for our reporting,” Simularity avers.
But again, who is there to validate their interpretation of the satellite imagery? It would have been easier for us to believe in Simularity’s claim if the source of their funding did not surface. And if it was the first time they had hit China based on an alleged fraudulent claim.
Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao said that last May, Simularity “posted scores of photos of what it reported as showing over 200 Chinese ships in the Union Banks area, titled as ‘Chinese fishing vessels in Philippine EEZ,’ even as the area is claimed by China and Vietnam as their own sovereign territories,” and noticeably failing to mention that Union Banks is mostly controlled by Vietnam.
The funny thing is that Tiglao said that as early as April 23, he had already proven in his article, the “report of Chinese maritime militia was a hoax, and that the vessels were simply Chinese fishing fleets from its coasts seeking refuge from a storm in the boomerang-shaped atoll.”
Not only the source of its funding raises concerns on Simularity’s credibility. Tiglao, citing sources, claims Simularity had been contracted by the US State Department to set-up a South China Sea Rapid Alert Forum, a platform for manufacturing anti-China propaganda using its interpretation of satellite images.
And Simularity had yet to comment on these issues.
With Simularity’s failure to clarify these issues, the Chinese Embassy here in Manila issued a statement describing the company as harbinger of lies against China.
In its statement, the Chinese Embassy condemned Simularity’s act of fabricating facts, violating professional ethics, and maliciously spreading fake news against China.
“For a long time, anti-China forces like this company have spared no efforts to produce lies and hype up the South China Sea issue to discredit and demonize China, create hatred and anti-China sentiments in the Philippines. Their ultimate goal is to sow discord between China and the Philippines so as to serve their own political agenda.
These anti-China forces have formed a complete set of routines. Some foreign organizations issue a fabricated report, and then some irresponsible media follow up to spread fake news. Finally, some anti-China forces use fake news to accuse and defame China,” the statement read.
But even if it had scored early success in spreading the “fake news,” the Chinese Embassy stresses “that a lie told a thousand times is still a lie” that any rational person can see clearly through the tricks.
Now here’s the biggest challenge to Simularity. Our very own Department of National Defense has directed the Western Command which has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea to verify and investigate. And China has bared its willingness to work with countries along the coast of the South China Sea, including the Philippines, to eliminate interference and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
So, what if DND’s probe disproves Simularity’s allegation? Will it finally apologize for its acts?
This could turn out to be the biggest demolition job that local media entities had taken part in.