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Thai Newspaper Sparks Outrage After Calling Philippines “Land of COVID-19”

A Filipino official reacted that the label was “inappropriate, insensitive, and unhelpful.”

Mark Andrew

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  • Thailand’s Thai Rath newspaper has angered Filipino officials and netizen after calling the Philippines as the “Land of COVID-19.”
  • A Filipino embassy official eventually wrote an open letter for the publication’s editor in chief to condemn the “insensitive” label.

A local newspaper in Thailand has attracted a lot of heated reaction after labeling the Philippines as the “land” of coronavirus.

A Bangkok-based Filipino embassy official even took time to write an open letter to express his displeasure against a Thai Rath article entitled “Imported, Filipino teachers. Land of COVID-19.”

Published last August 9, the article has since  been criticized by officials and netizen alike.

The said article reported about the arrival of 165 English teachers from the Philippines in Bangkok.

Consul General Val Simon Roque pointed out that tagging the country that way was simply “inappropriate, insensitive, and unhelpful.”

He also added that they “assure Thai Rath, its readers, and all of our Thai friends that the Filipino teachers and other Filipinos returning to the Kingdom are following and will strictly follow all the health protocols and quarantine conditions promulgated by the Royal Thai Government.”

Roque also encouraged Thai Rath editor in chief Khun Saravut to instead “promote unity and harmony” amidst the global pandemic.

As of this reporting, the Philippines has become one of Asia’s COVID-19 Hotspot with 147,526 confirmed cases of the dreaded disease and 2,426 deaths. The country has also reported 70,387 recoveries.

Meanwhile, Philippine Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN there is a reason for the newspaper to paint the country in a negative light.

“We are fierce competitors with Thailand when it comes to tourism. I’m sure that their statement that we are the land of COVID is also motivated by the fact that they are struggling to invite people to come to visit Thailand again,” he claimed. “That’s the context by which we should listen to this comment coming from our ASEAN neighbors. We are the closest of friends but we are also the closest competitors.”

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