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Thousands of Filipinos in at least 10 countries are gearing up for a massive protest action against China tomorrow (July 24), reports from the Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC) said.
GFDC spokesperson Ted Laguatan said, “We are protesting China’s brute force invasion and occupation of Philippine territory with the intention of grabbing our oil and marine resources.”
Laguatan also said that the West Philippine Sea Coalition rallies are aimed at raising the awareness of the global community of China’s actions which are considered “immoral and illegal” and are “clear violation of the UN International Law of the Seas (ITLOS).”
On July 24 last year, China declared that Philippine marine territory in West Philippine Sea is part of Sansha prefecture.
The Philippines, according to China, is not entitled to its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone boundaries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). China maintains that the boundaries of all countries extend just 12 nautical miles from their coasts.
Following its position, China seized the Philippines’ Mischief Reef in 1994, the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and this year – the Ayungin Reef. The Ayungin Reef – subject of the latest dispute between the Philippines and China – is 105 miles from Palawan province.
Outside the Philippines, protest rallies and marches have also been reported to be staged in the United States (New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Virginia), US CNMI (Saipan), Australia, Austria (Vienna), Canada (Vancouver), Denmark (Copenhagen), Italy (Rome), Singapore, and United Kingdom (London). Filipinos in Israel and other countries are also expected to participate.
In Australia, a protest rally is set to be staged tomorrow afternoon at the front steps of the Parliament House in North Terrace, Adelaide.
In the Philippines, about 65 civil societies and organisations including faith-based groups have been reported joining the protest rally to be held in Makati.
Among those joining the Makati rally are senior citizen groups and alumni groups with senior citizen members.
“This may be our final act of patriotic activism,” said one alumni group member as he urged his peers to join the protest march from the Ayala Triangle.
“Let’s show it with full vigor despite our waning years. For country, for self-respect!”, he added.
(Updated: July 23, 2013 2:05pm AEST)
(Updated: July 23, 2013 11:15am AEST)
(Updated: July 23, 2013 8:26am AEST)
About the West Philippine Sea: UP Primer on the West Philippine Sea, April 2013. [PDF, 4309 kb, Download]