The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos joining a “global day of protest” against China’s aggression are expected to underscore the strong, centuries-old friendship between the two peoples, and to pin the blame on the maritime standoff at Panatag Shoal on the government in Beijing.
Sources in the organizers’ camp told InterAksyon.com the people’s manifesto, to be read in protests in front of Chinese embassies and consulates in at least nine countries on Friday, May 11, will stress that the protesters “have no quarrel” with the Chinese people, with whom Filipinos share centuries of economic and cultural ties, and acknowledge the immense contribution of “Filipinos of Chinese descent” in “building, and continuing to build, our nation.”
In Manila, Philippine groups that will mobilize on Friday for the global protest against China vowed to hold a peaceful activity, but at the same time send across a strong message that the Filipinos will stand pat on their country’s sovereignty over the Panatag, also called Scarborough Shoal, just off Zambales province in Western Luzon.
Similar protests will be held on Friday by Filipinos based in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Thailand and Germany.
To spice up the gathering in the Philippines at 12 noon of Friday, there will be collective dancing by participants to the music of "Kung Fu fighting," and collective singing of the national anthem. Some participants will also wear boat effigies.
Participants will perform a collective street dance to the tune of Kung Fu Fighting, a 1974 hit that was revived in 2008 for the animation Kung Fu Panda, as boat effigies parade on the streets. The highlight of the event will be the singing of the Philippine National Anthem to stress that the Philippines has undisputed territorial jurisdiction over the shoal, according to Emman Hizon, communications officer of the Akbayan partylist group.
Beijing had rejected the Philippines’s assertion that Panatag lies well within the Philippines’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and also dismissed Manila’s bid to raise the issue to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
“We are expecting 1,500 people will join. We are also expecting walk-ins,” Hizon said. The protest will be held in front of the Chinese consulate on Gul Puyat Avenue in Makati City.
Aside from Akbayan, the Black and White Movement, People Power Volunteer for Reforms, student council alliances, Muslim groups and fisherfolk organizations will join the rally.
The US Pinoys for Good Governance, chaired by Loida Nicolas-Lewis, was among the organizers of the event, which will see Manila and key cities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and Asian cities go to the streets on May 11 to pressure Beijing to abandon the shoal.
Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello said the activity aims to “underline to China that government enjoys near unanimous popular support from the people.” “It also aims to add pressure for China to understand that our people will not accept a resolution of issues by force,” he said.
Risa Hontiveros, Akbayan national spokesperson, said the global action is not directed against the Chinese people. “We are in solidarity with the Chinese people. What we are opposing are policies, the bullying of the Chinese government in the region,” she said.
Hontiveros hopes that the action would call the attention of the international community and internationalize the issue. “We hope the action will contribute in convincing China to sit in a multilateral platform such as the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS,)” she added.
In a separate news conference, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that he supports the claim of the Philippines, but added that the diplomatic move remains the best route. “I think instead of doing all of those things we should continue doing our dialogues,” he said.