Overseas Pinoys rally behind PH on Scarborough claim

Posted at 05/02/2012 11:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Various overseas Filipino groups in the United States, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the world will hold simultaneous rallies in front of Chinese consulates and embassies on noon of May 11 to protest over Beijing's aggressive moves at Scarborough Shoal.

Loida Nicolas Lewis, national chair of US Pinoys for Good Governance and former chief executive officer of Beatrice International, will head the New York protest.

Meanwhile, Akbayan partylist group will lead a protest before the Chinese consulate in Makati. Other participants in the Makati protest are members of the People Power Volunteers, Kabataang LP, Bantay Gloria, Black & White Movement, El Elyon Youth Sector, Grain New Wine & Oil Ministries, and Muslims Coalition.

Lewis urged Filipinos worldwide to mount demonstrations in front of China's embassies and consulates on May 11 to protest China's recent aggressive encroachments on the Philippines' Scarborough Shoal.

She expects around 250 Filipino protesters at each site.

China considers Scarborough Shoal, which is located 124 nautical miles from the Philippines' Zambales province, to be its "inherent territory" even though it lies more than 500 nautical miles from Chinese mainland.

The territorial dispute has escalated following these developments:

- Chinese navy ships recently confronted the Philippine navy vessel, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which sought to apprehend Chinese boats illegally fishing in the area. The Chinese boats were found to contain corals, rare fish and live baby sharks, which are considered illegal cargo under Philippine law.

- Chinese navy ships fired on and harassed unarmed Philippine fishing boats and exploration vessels, forcing them to withdraw.

- Chinese navy ships dropped steel posts and navigation buoys with Chinese markings in the waters around Scarborough Shoal.

China's Global Times, published by the government's People's Daily, reported in its April 25 editorial that China is prepared to engage in a war with the Philippines: "China should select the most arrogant provocateur and conduct comprehensive strikes. If the water overwhelms China's knees, other countries will find their necks in it."

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario proposed that the 2 countries bring their dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea but this proposal was immediately rejected by China.

Rodel Rodis, national president of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, called on the Global Filipino Diaspora Council representing 12 million Filipinos in 220 countries throughout the world to support the Philippines' sovereign claim to Scarborough Shoal, which has been in Philippine maps since 1743.

"Strong support by Filipinos in the Diaspora will show China that it is not just confronting a small country that it can easily bully, but one that has citizens throughout the world who can mobilize public opinion," Lewis said.