Filipinos must join Vietnamese in the Philippines who are set to stage a rally against China’s alleged aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) on Friday, a leader of the Filipino community in the United States said on Wednesday.
The mass action is scheduled from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in front of the Chinese consulate offices along Buendia Avenue in Makati City.
Loida Nicolas Lewis, chairman of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), said at a news conference in Makati that China needs to see that claimant-countries like the Philippines and Vietnam are one in objecting against its intrusions in the region.
Her group’s protest will be joined by Hoi Trinh, member and founder of Philippine-based group Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment, or Voice; Rogelio Santos, chairman of Filipinos Unite and member of USP4GG; Rep. Roilo Gomez, founder, Di Ka Pasisiil Movement; and Rafaela David, chairman of Akbayan’s Youth Movement.
“We object in the strongest possible terms to 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 Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea],” Trinh said.
Santos decried Beijing’s audacity, saying, “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 [are]very real.”
“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.
Akbayan’s leadership also offered support to the Philippines and Vietnam, with its representative in Congress, Walden Bello, saying Beijing’s actions “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,” Bello added.
“China’s bullying tactics employed against Vietnam are 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,” he said.