At least two lawmakers on Monday slammed Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Teodoro Locsin Jr. over his controversial social media post about Palestinian children.
“There is no room in Philippine society, much more in the high offices of government, for the dangerous, bigoted, and islamophobic rhetoric that is palpable in your now deleted statement,” Lanao del Sur Representative Zia Alonto Adiong said in a statement, addressing Locsin.
Adiong was referring to Locsin’s now-deleted post on X (formerly Twitter) that said, “That’s why Palestinian children should be killed; they might grow up to become as gullible as innocent Palestinians letting Hamas launch rockets at Israel.”
Adiong said “[u]nder no circumstance is the killing of Palestinian children justified, and it is no laughing matter when more than a thousand Palestinian children have lost their lives in Gaza within this past week alone.”
“May your (Locsin) statement land on deaf ears. It is unbecoming for any Filipino, much more a high official, to visit genocidal machinations upon innocent children of any nation. An ambassador who is tasked to represent the best of our nation, a defender of our nation’s interests, must espouse our nation’s commitment to peace and humanity,” he added.
A former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary, Locsin has apologized for the post, saying it was a “sarcastic response to a tweet.”
“I immediately deleted my sarcastic response to a tweet as I realized it could be misconstrued and retweeted to incite,” Locsin said.
“My apologies to those who did misconstrue my sentiments and did in fact get triggered — I obviously was not advocating for the literal death of anyone, but rather simply for the end of any ideology that condones terrorism in any way, shape or form,” he added.
Kabayan party-list lawmaker Ron Salo, meanwhile, agreed with Adiong, noting that Locsin’s statement on Palestinian children is highly irresponsible and only incites hatred and hostility not only against the Palestinians but against Muslims.
“While Ambassador Locsin has apologized and stated it was a ‘sarcastic response,’ his social media post may be perceived as the official stand of the Philippine government,” Salo said.
“Worse, it jeopardizes our Filipino diplomats particularly in the Middle East who may be perceived as sharing his opinion,” he added.
Salo said the DFA should not let Locsin get away with such statements.
“For the peace and safety of our kababayans and OFWs, particularly those located in the crisis areas and Muslim countries, I urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to immediately issue a statement disavowing, if not denouncing, Ambassador Locsin’s social media post,” the party-list lawmaker said.
In a short statement, the DFA said the Republic of the Philippines “completely disassociates itself from the statement made on Twitter by Ambassador Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.”
“Such statement was made in his strictly personal capacity,” it said.—KBK, GMA Integrated News