Protest set vs US, China ‘threats to PH sovereignty’
Aries Joseph Hegina
1:27 PM | Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Activists and citizen groups are gearing up for a large rally on June 12 to condemn the recent actions by China regarding its claim over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and the alleged military presence of the United States in the country.
The Independence Day rally, which has the theme “Hands Off the Philippines,” will be led by former senator Rene Saguisag, actress Bibeth Orteza and Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares. They said that the acts of US and China “constitute real and serious threats to Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The US, as lone superpower, and China as a fast rising regional power, have no qualms riding roughshod over the Philippines to advance their economic and geopolitical-military interests in the region,” the organizers of the rally said in a statement.
They said that Filipinos should be united in defending the country.
“The US and China connive and compete with one another to impose their dominance over the region. This situation demands a united and visible response from our people,” the statement read.
READ: US-China exchange highlights tension over disputed sea
The activists also urged the government to craft an “independent foreign policy” which does not lean on the interests of the two global powers.
“Ordinary citizens need to be involved in defending our land and seas and in pursuing a truly independent foreign policy that neither bows to China’s bullying nor kowtows to US imposition,” it added.
The “Hands Off Philippines” rally will begin with a mobilization in front of the Chinese embassy in Makati City at 9 a.m. then will proceed to US embassy at 11 a.m.
China has made the headlines recently after its navy warned off a US surveillance plane flying over the Fiery Cross Reef in the West Philippine Sea, where it conducted massive reclamation work.
READ: ‘Go away,’ China tells US spy plane in West PH Sea — report
On Tuesday, China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun downplayed the criticisms of US and other claimants who said that the rising superpower is sowing tension in the region.
READ: China’s army plays down South China Sea island-building
Yujun said that its construction activities in the disputed islands “are no different from other construction activities in the country.” IDL