Following the criticisms she received for participating in the music video of "Iisang Dagat," Filipina "jukebox queen" and Camarines Sur vice-governor Imelda Papin defended herself and released a statement to address the backlash.
"Iisang Dagat" was released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Friday, April 24. It was composed by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian. According to the embassy, the song aims to demonstrate the "new era partnership of mutual support during trying times" between the Philippines and China.
However, the song did not sit well with several Filipino netizens and cited it as an "insult" as China continues its aggressive sovereignty claim over the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement she sent to Mario Dumaual of ABS-CBN News, Imelda remarked that she did not present herself to be part of the music video but she was personally chosen by the Chinese Ambassador to be part of the project.
"Hayaan natin sila, ipagdasal ko na lang. Kasi hindi naman ako nag presenta. Ako mismo ang kinuha . . . bilang chosen artist ni Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian — the composer of the song — at ang message ng song — it's all about unity — awitin ng pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan at pag asa," she said.
The singer added, "Dapat huwag bigyan ng kulay. Kasi mababa ang moral ng tao ngayon. Dapat sa pamamagitan ng boses ko ay tumaas mang moral ng ibang tao at makapagbigay-inspirasyon na ngayon ang panahon na dapat mag kaisa wala na munang away."
The singer also stressed that she did not ask for a talent fee for lending her voice to the project.
"Ang title 'Iisang Dagat' para ding isang mundo yan. Bakit i-criticize ang participation ko. Bakit hindi sila kumibo sa mga tulong na binibigay ng China —doctors, protective equipment etc. Bakit ako? I pray for everyone and as Filipinos let us all pray together and healed as one! Hindi ako sumingil kahit isang centavo. For love and unity," she stated.