The Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) defended the airing of the “Wow China” radio program in the Philippines, saying the show is “light, informative, and entertaining” and does not promote any political view.
PBS is an attached agency of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) that governs Radyo Pilipinas RP1, where the controversial program is aired.
“Wow China is an hour-long educational program that has been airing Saturday and Sunday afternoons on RP1 since 2018, and is independently produced by China Radio International. Co-hosted by a PBS anchor and broadcast in Filipino, the show features the traditions, culture, and history of both the Philippines and China, as well as the differences and similarities between the two countries,” PBS said in a statement Tuesday.
“Its format is light, informative, and entertaining; in no way whatsoever does it espouse or promote a particular political view or cause,” it added.
PBS explained that the “Wow China” radio program is part of the Philippines’ bilateral communication agreement with China. The pact aimed to enhance information exchange, cultural relations, and strengthen broadcast capability.
PBS and China Radio International collaborated for the program.
“Let us not create confusion, cultivate fear and anger, or propagate divisiveness at a time when the country needs us to stand united; instead, let us work together to overcome this challenge as one nation,” the PCOO agency said.
Senator opposes ‘Wow China’ radio program
Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile wanted the government to cancel “Wow China.” She said PCOO should do its mandate to provide meaningful information, especially in this time of crisis.
But instead, the agency allegedly helps China promote its ideology in the country. She also said the airing of the program on a platform funded by Filipino taxpayers’ money was a betrayal.
PBS, however, denied the senator’s allegations and explained that PBS also has similar communication agreements with other countries aside from China.
“Apart from China, PBS has also worked with other countries, and extended airtime as well, to air their news, socio-cultural, and tourism content for the educational benefit of Filipinos. These include agreements with the United Kingdom’s BBC and Thailand’s Sawasdee. It is also likewise noteworthy to note that PBS-BBS is in cooperation with the Voice of America (USA),” it said.
“Wow China” also aired Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East Asian Growth Area (BIMP EAGA) features, said PBS.
“It has additionally been promoting The Sound of Southeast Asia, by celebrating popular music from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam,” it added.