After Manila’s reversal of a 7-year-old policy opposing Beijing‘s expansive maritime claim, the Philippine immigration office declared on Wednesday that it would start stamping passports of visiting Chinese nationals.
Immigration officers have now been directed to put arrival and departure stamps on Chinese passports next to Philippine visas, Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go signal to stamp Philippine visas on such passports even though they were printed with a map showing the nine-dash line from Beijing.
This doctrine, which Beijing uses to claim more than 85% of the resource-rich South China Sea, was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
In 2012, the Aquino administration protested the e-passport nine-dash line prints, opting to put Philippine visas on a separate document.
We support this DFA policy update,” Morente said. “We have also expressed security concerns about the old practice in the past, as paper sheets can easily be lost.
Last August, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that Philippine visas will now display the map of the whole Philippine EEZ to its fullest extent, including Benham Rise along with other territorial claims.
According to lawyer Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Sea Law, China’s nine-dash line photos on its passport have no legal effect and its value is for propaganda purposes only.
It’s a fair game, he said.
You fight propaganda in a way with your own propaganda, but the Philippine stamp represents the facts this time at least. It also reflects what is acceptable in international law.
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