Mass Rally Set at Consulate of China in Makati on Friday, May 16, 12nn
MANILA – Filipino Community Leader Loida Nicolas Lewis is calling all Filipinos to join Vietnamese nationals in their protests against China’s Intrusion of their territory in the South China Sea, referred to by the Vietnamese as the East Sea, as well as their bullying in the region.
The action comes after Beijing placed an oil rig in disputed waters near Paracel islands.
“By supporting our Vietnamese neighbors in their rally, we are showing that we are all one on the issue of China’s aggression in the region and illegal usurpation of Paracel islands in the South China Sea,” said Nicolas Lewis, chair of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), which led protests against China’s intrusion of Philippine waters since 2011.
“We object in the strongest possible terms China’s deployment last week of a deep sea oil rig known as HD-981 within Vietnam’s continental shelf. We therefore express solidarity with the Philippines against Chinese aggression in defiance of International law and UNCLOS (United Nationals Convention on the Law of the Sea),” said Hoi Trinh, Member and Founder of Philippine-based group, Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment (VOICE).
“Vietnam and Philippines stand as one against Chinese aggression, and together, we say, “China, Get out of ASEAN Sea!”
Trinh and other Vietnamese nationals in the Philippines are calling on Vietnamese and Filipinos in the Philippines to join the rally in front of Chinese Consulate, 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila, on Friday, May 16th, 2014 on Friday at 12nn to 1pm.
“The brazen installation of China’s oil rig into Vietnam’s territory is a wake up call to the international community. It clearly shows that China’s intentions, willingness and capability to illegitimately occupy and extract the resources of other nations in blatant defiance of international law is very real,” said Rogelio “Vonz” Santos, Chair of Filipinos Unite (FU) and Member of USP4GG.
“What happens here sets the stage of how the international community must respond to avert this threat from wildly spreading. This is why we, as Filipinos, stand against China’s actions together with our Vietnamese brothers and sisters – for they are now where we could have been and where we could be if we don’t nip these actions in the bud,” he added.
“This is again an example of China using its military might to bully the Vietnamese and grab valuable energy resources from the Vietnamese people,” added Atty. Ted Laguatan, USP4GG Spokesperson and Legal Counsel
“We also protest China’s fishermen who caught illegally poaching in our waters,” said Nicolas Lewis.
AKBAYAN’s leadership also offered support.
“We urge the Aquino government to lead the way in building a strong alliance with Vietnam to deter further acts of aggression from China which undermine regional peace and stability. By being the most vocal and consistent countries opposed to China’s encroachment of their respective territories, both the Philippines and Vietnam have borne the brunt of the Chinese government’s intimidation and abuse in the region,” Akbayan Representative Walden Bello said.
“China’s bullying tactics employed against Vietnam is not new to us. The Philippines experiences the same, varying only in gravity and medium. Thus, it is time to transform both countries’ common experience of coercion from China into a common action to nullify threats to their territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Bello added.