MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos around the world will stage protests in front of Chinese embassies on Wednesday next week, July 24, to support government’s position against China’s “aggression” in the West Philippine Sea.
Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan III and former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez are the lead convenors of newly formed West Philippine Sea Coalition that aims for “peaceful” and “viral campaign” that will pressure China to back down.
“We call on Filipinos everywhere to rise as one united sovereign people and stand in dignified defiance in the face of China’s threats of war every time we object to its unwarranted violations within our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone),” they said in a press briefing Wednesday, July 17.
The coalition was formed as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) begins to hear the Philippines’ case against China over the West Philippine Sea.
Tell the world what’s happening
They will hold a protest rally in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on July 24. Similar protests will be staged in various states in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
“This protest rally is only going to be the start of something that we intend to become bigger, not only in the Philippines but worldwide in order to tell the world about what’s happening in our backyard – the bullying being done by our big neighbor China,” added Golez.
The coalition called on Filipinos worldwide to organize themselves in groups of at least 20 and hold their own protests.
They claimed even Vietnamese groups will join them in their protests in the United States.
The West Philippine Sea Coalition is comprised of various groups like the Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO), Di Ka Pasisiil Movement of Golez, the political party Akbayan, Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa, US Pinoys for Good Governmance, and various religious groups, among others.
Local celebrities and bands have joined the fight. At least 25 artists, including Billy Crawford and Anne Curtis, are recording a song to inspire the coalition. GMA network talent Roxanne Barcelo joined the press conference to join calls for Filipinos worldwide to be part of the movement.
“We are reaching out to the Chinese people. We are not against you. We are against your government’s lawless policy of intrusion and occupation, theft of natural resources, and intimidation in our EEZ,” added Alunan.
Modernize the military
The West Philippine Sea Coalition also supports government moves to modernize and professionalize the military.
This is not to prepare for war against China, said Golez, but to “establish a presence” in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“It is very unfortunate that by choice we have neglected the upgrading of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that used to be one of the best in Asia,” said Golez.
“We must attain the means to present a credible defense posture at the soonest possible time that will enable us to protect our EEZ, defend our territoral intergity and uphold national honor,” added Alunan.
“This is not meant to oppose China in a future war. That is not the intention. I don’t think that is what the government has in mind,” added Alunan. — Rappler.com