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MMDA clueless on who put up “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” signs on footbridges

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday removed “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” tarpaulins that were found hanging on footbridges across various parts of Metro Manila.

The tarpaulins were seen on the footbridges on the second anniversary of the victory of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China over its claims on the West Philippine Sea.

MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said the tarpaulins were placed on footbridges along C-5 Kalayaan, Quezon Ave., España-Welcome Rotonda, Airport Road in Pasay City, and Philcoa-Commonwealth.

Garcia said the agency has not given permits for the tarpaulins, which were removed by MMDA with the help of police officers and local government personnel.

“Kung sino man ang naglagay nyan para mang-inis siguro. Walang kuha sa CCTV. Kaya pinatanggal yan kasi nasafootbridge, bawal yan. At isa pa, public property yan, kaya tatanggalin namin yan kasi bawal yan (Whoever put these tarpaulins up just wanted to annoy people. It was not captured by CCTV cameras. The tarpaulins must be removed because these are prohibited on footbridges, which are public properties),” Garcia said.

He said the tarps were probably put up at dawn when no MMDA enforcers are around, in areas with no CCTV cameras.

The MMDA also does not see any relation between the red tarpaulins and the arrival of Chinese delegates in the country.

“May mga Chinese delegates po kasi tayo ngayon dito sa Philippines. So in-assume na welcoming tarpaulin yun. Unfortunately, maraming na-offend kasi di naman dadaanan ng mga Chinese delegates dun (Chinese delegates are here in the Philippines so it is assumed that the tarpaulins were mounted to welcome them. Unfortunately, many were offended because the Chinese delegates will not even pass through these areas),” Garcia said.

“Hindi ito related sa pagdating ng Chinese delegates, kasi nandito sila for incentive tour. Yearly po nila ginagawa yun. Tinawagan po namin yung organizers ng Chinese delegates. Hindi din sila ang may pakana (This is not related to the visit of the Chinese delegates because they are here for an incentive tour, which they do yearly. We called up their organizers who told us that they did not hang the tarpaulins),” he added.

The MMDA will investigate the incident to determine the identities of individuals or groups behind the tarpaulins. (With reports from Coleen May Abante, OJT/PNA)