Chinese language newspaper celebrating Alice Guo’s mayoral victory earns buzz

May 14, 2024 - 12:51 PM
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Alice Guo_selfie
Bamban Mayor Alice Guo in this photo posted on her Facebook page on May 5, 2024 (AliceLealGuo/Facebook)

Newspapers written in Chinese featuring Bamban Mayor Alice Guo of Tarlac being celebrated for her 2022 election victory sparked conversations about her background.

Facebook user Deck Garcia on Sunday shared a copy of a Chinese-language newspaper congratulating her on its May 12, 2022 issue.

Reports said that it was a copy of World News, a Chinese-language newspaper with an address in Binondo, Manila — considered the world’s oldest Chinatown.

Meanwhile, an English translation by artificial intelligence tools reveals the following text of the report:

Warmly congratulate Ms. Alice Leal Guo, daughter of Mr. Guo Jianjiang, on being elected Mayor of Bamban 90A

May your governance be clear and the people be safe
May the nation prosper and the people be happy

Another translation shows that the congratulatory message was from the Jinjiang City Jinjiang Town Shujiao Village Residents’ Committee, Shujiao Village Elderly Association, Shujiao Public Welfare Development Foundation, Jinjiang Shujiao Village Xufeng School Board and the Shujiao Guo Clan Association.

Another social media user claimed that his grandfather had read the newspaper before.

“Puro mga news din ng Pinas ‘yan, naka-translate lang sa Chinese. ‘Yang mga ganyan na pa-announcement, usually mga congratulatory ‘yan if may Chinoy na naka-achieve ng something, ganun. Hehe,” he wrote in the comments.

The Facebook user added that it was not a “mainland Chinese newspaper.”

Another social media user on the X (formerly Twitter) platform shared a different report in Chinese on WeChat that congratulated Guo. It was published on May 18, 2022.

An English translation of the headline by an artificial intelligence tool reads: “Family’s pride! Guo Huaping elected as the first female mayor in the history of Bamban City, Tarlac Province, Philippines.”

Guo Huaping is the Chinese character of the name of Alice Leal Guo.

The translated version of the report reads:

The Pearl of the South China Sea Shines Brightly, the Phoenix’s Beautiful Feathers Spread for the First Time

With great pride, the Guo clan of China shares the joyous news that has spread across the land of China. Ms. Alice Leal GUO, also known as Guo Huaping, the daughter of Mr. Guo Jianjiang of Chaodai Village, Jinjing Town, Jinjiang City, Fujian Province, was elected Mayor of Bamban (or Banban), Tarlac Province, Philippines, on May 9, 2022, becoming the city’s first female mayor.

At the young age of 30, Alice Guo, with her remarkable intelligence, soaring ambitions, and unwavering determination to take on great responsibilities, has gained the support of the vast majority of the city’s citizens. Not to be outdone by her male counterparts, she won the election.

This joyous news has invigorated the Filipino Chinese community, who have spread the word far and wide. It has also caused a stir throughout China, with congratulations pouring in from Guo clan members across the country, including Guo Xiangting of Beijing, Guo Yangfa and Guo Zhipeng of Fujian, Guo Fengxu of Guizhou, Guo Zhusong and Guo Anyin of Guangdong, Guo Fuhua of Sichuan, Guo Chaosu and Guo Xiuyan of Hainan, Guo Zhongjiang, Guo Dongping, Guo Jingxian, Guo Yougen, and Guo Yongzhu of Jiangxi, Guo Xuewen, Guo Jianping, and Guo Jian of Shanxi, Guo Qikun of Taiwan, Guo Jinchang of Macau, and Guo Limian of Shenzhen, as well as the editorial team of the “Chinese Guo Clan Yearbook.” The Guo clan is celebrating this victory, and it is a new song of praise for the traditional friendship between China and the Philippines.

The Jinjiang City Returned Overseas Chinese Federation, the Jinjing Town Returned Overseas Chinese Federation, and the Jinjiang City Overseas Friendship Association sent congratulatory messages.

The Philippine Federation of Jinjing Town Associations, the Philippine Jinjing Chamber of Commerce, the Philippine Federation of Shenhu Town Associations, the Philippine Federation of Chaodai Township Associations, the Hong Kong Federation of Chaodai Township Associations, the Hong Kong Chaodai Guo Clan Association, the Chaodai Village Committee of Jinjing Town, the Chaodai Village Elderly Association, the Chaodai Public Welfare Development Foundation, the Chaodai Village Daifeng School Board, the Chaodai Guo Clan Association, the Jinjing Town Chaodai Maofeng District Elderly Association, and others have all published congratulatory messages in Philippine newspapers.

Reported by Guo Qingping at the Hong Kong Correspondent Training Conference of Southeast Net

On the other hand, an archived copy from Bamban’s website showed Guo giving a birthday greeting to her “mother” identified as “Mommy Patty.”

Some social media users have doubted the woman’s veracity as Guo’s mother, claiming she looked young and bore no physical resemblance to the mayor.

The photo can be traced to a 2023 Facebook post of Guo, where she had the following caption for a series of photos that included “Mommy Patty:”

Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) Visioning Workshop with our Vice Mayor Ding Anunciacion, SB Councils, Barangay Chairman’s, LGU department head’s and CSO’s of our Bayan

It did not have any mention of Guo’s supposed mother.

Guo’s personal background has been under scrutiny after opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros questioned the mayor’s nationality, who was purported to have links to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO).

“It catches one’s attention, especially because based on our research, there is a similar modus operandi wherein foreigners enter into certain countries. Eventually, they pretend to be locals and then do various tasks — some of which are not desirable,” the lawmaker said before.

Hontiveros also previously said that Guo’s father has Chinese nationality, based on documents.

RELATED: Pinoys call for Comelec’s attention amid Senate hearing revelations about Alice Guo

Based on the Local Government Code, an elective local official will be disqualified if they have dual citizenship or are permanent residents of a foreign country.

Sen. Win Gatchalian also said it would be “difficult” to believe Guo if she kept on answering “I don’t know” in Senate hearings.

The Commission on Elections said that Guo may be charged with perjury if it is proven that she has misrepresented herself as a Filipino citizen when she filed her candidacy as Bamban mayor.

Candidates running for local positions can be natural-born Filipinos or foreign nationals who become naturalized Filipino citizens.

Aspiring candidates must submit a certificate of candidacy (COC) to Comelec, in which they declare themselves Filipino citizens.

“The Comelec presumes that all the information the candidates put in their COCs are correct until a disqualification or cancellation of candidacy case is filed by a registered voter,” Comelec Chair George Garcia said.

“The Comelec has no right to reject a COC submitted to us. As long as all the items are filled out, we will accept it, regardless if the information they provided are not true,” he added.

Garcia said that no one had filed a disqualification case against Guo.