A haircare product made in Manila caused a recent uproar in the Philippines for listing the capital city as a province of China.

Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno ordered the closure of at least four businesses that sell the hair products with the erroneous label.

The product, Ashley Shine Keratin Treatment Deep Repair, was locally made and packaged in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown. The address on the packaging is listed as “1st Flr. 707 Ito Cristo St., San Nicolas, Manila Province, P.R. China.”

“There is no Binondo in China. Binondo is in Manila. This is a big insult. We will not allow this,” said Levi Facundo, director of the Bureau of Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO), who led the operation in shutting down the involved establishments. He warned other businesses against misrepresentation on their product labels.

Philippine lawmaker Jericho Nograles, a nephew of President Rodrigo Duterte, has called for blacklisting the product, Rappler reported. He said that he has asked the government agencies to investigate the incident, and that “any act to undermine our sovereignty must be taken seriously.”

This is not the first time that the Philippines has been referred to as a province of China. In 2018, President Duterte himself joked about making the Philippines part of China’s territory at the Chinese Business Club.

“If you want, just make us a province, like Fujian,” he said. “Province of Philippines, Republic of China.”

But Nograles does not seem to take sovereignty issues lightly like his uncle.

“I’m happy that Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has taken this matter very seriously and has acted very swiftly to protect the integrity not only of the City of Manila but the entire sovereign Republic of the Philippines,” Nograles said, adding that Congress should draft a measure that would punish similar acts that insult Filipinos.

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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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