A common man’s concern? What Vice Ganda’s West Philippine Sea jokes suggest

April 19, 2021 - 1:08 PM
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Screengrabs of Vice Ganda via ABS-CBN's YouTube channel

Comedian Vice Ganda serves tea about the discovery of China in a segment in ABS-CBN’s “It’s Showtime” last Friday.

In his joke, Vice Ganda made a reference about the chase incident between Chinese vessels and a Filipino boat in the West Philippine Sea.

Chiara Zambrano, who was one of the passengers in the boat, also noticed the video clips and was impressed that the public continues to talk about it.

What was the ‘tea?’

During the “Tawag ng Tanghalan” segment, Vice Ganda remarked about the territorial row in jest.

The contestant shared that his favorite subject is history, prompting a pop quiz about the Philippines with co-host Vhong Navarro.

One of the questions was: “Who discovered China?”

Navarro admitted he did not know the answer. Vice Ganda then quipped that it was Zambrano who found China, in reference to the chasing incident at the Juan Felipe Reef.

“Si Chiara Zambrano ang naka-discover na ang China pala ay malapit na sa Palawan! Na sa Juan Felipe Reef na pala! Sila ang nakakita,” he said.

The comedian then added: “Hinabol sila, ‘di ba?”

Vice Ganda also made more references to China’s aggressive claims over the country’s territory in the succeeding questions.

In the question about how many rays of the sun are on the Philippine flag, the veteran actor responded that there are currently eight rays. However, China might also soon claim one of them.

“Baka kinuha na naman ng China ‘yung isa, pito na lang ngayon. Dati kasi walo, pero hindi natin alam, baka nahiram na naman ng China,” he said.

Vice Ganda made more historical banters in response to the next questions. When the pop quiz ended, he stressed the importance of learning about the country’s history.

“Napakahalagang alam natin ang history. Kasi maraming bahagi ng history na kailangan masiguro natin na hindi na mauulit sa kasalukuyan at sa hinaharap. Kaya dapat, inaalam din natin ‘yan,” he said.

Video clips of these question and answer portion circulated on Twitter over the weekend, wherein some Filipinos praised him for tackling the subject in a funny, satirical way.

Zambrano was also pleased that people get to talk about such national concern in noontime variety programs.

“In the absence of political satire, it’s actually refreshing to see the West Philippine Sea come out as jokes in noontime programs. It shows more people are talking about it now, and more people understand it enough to make them laugh,” she wrote.

Last April 9, the ABS-CBN News team whom Zambrano was part of traveled across various reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea for a coverage when they were suddenly chased by two Chinese vessels, which supposedly the Chinese Navy deployed.

The chase happened near Palawan and still within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines initially told the media to “exercise prudence” in covering areas within the West Philippine Sea.

“While we understand the journalists’ insatiable desire to be ahead in reporting, we appeal to them to exercise prudence in the course of their job,” said AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

Last April 14, the military gave Zambrano a plaque of recognition, citing her “faithful commitment to the tenets of responsible journalism.”

Zambrano posted a photo of this recognition on her social media account. It was awarded by AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.