The Inbox

Protesters denounce China ‘bullying’

Text by Lloyd Reyes

Photos by Vincent Go

VERA Files

The tension between the Philippines and China continues to simmer as more than a hundred protesters  gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate General in Makati Friday to  denounce what they called as  "China's continued bullying of the Philippines" over conflicting  ownership claims of the Scarborough Shoal also known as Panatag shoal.

"China, Back off!" and "Soberanya, ipaglaban! (Fight for sovereignty)," read the protestors' placards in what is seen as the biggest protest action staged against China in the Philippines.

Carlo Aquino Vargas, AKBAYAN Party List media officer, said they joined the protest rally to pressure superpower China to stop using "might' against the Philippines and resolve territorial conflicts through international arbitration.

She said the protest was an idea of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) which is spearheading a global protest against China.

USP4GG, which has  New York-based  businesswoman Loida Nicolas-Lewis among its leaders, was formed to promote  "good governance principles in the Philippines and encourage vigilance to protect the welfare of the Filipino people."

Vargas accused China of trying to intimidate the Philippines. "Hindi mo naman kailangang maging isang experto upang alamin na isang super power ang China at ang Pilipinas ay 'di hamak na maliit na bansa at di ganon kalakas ang kanyang pwersa. (You don't have to be an expert to know that China is a super power while the Philippines is very small and has little resources.)," he said.

The Philippines and China have conflicting territorial claims over islands in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, which the Philippine government now calls West Philippine Sea. China claims ownership of the whole South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim ownership of some of the islands in the area.

China also claims ownership of Scarborough shoal, which is not located in the South China Sea. The shoal, which is 124 nautical miles away from Zambales in Northern Philippines, is about 1,000 nautical miles from China.

Through the years, there have been several cases of arrests by the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard of Chinese fishermen in the vicinity of Scarborough shoal. The latest was last April 9 when the Philippine Navy warship BRP Gregorio del Pilar found eight Chinese fishing vessels in the area. Before the Chinese fishermen were apprehended, Chinese Marine Surveillance ships came which outnumbered the Philippine ship.

BRP del Pilar had been pulled out of the Scarborough area and replaced by a Philippine Coast Guard vessel in consonance with the government's policy of "White to white"( civilian ships are to deal only with civilian ships, in this case the Philippine Coast Guard to the Chinese Marine Surveillance) and  "Gray to gray", meaning  navy to navy.

The standoff in Scarborough shoal has reached the cyberspace where hacking of government websites of both sides has occurred.

The Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, has asked China to settle the conflict at the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). China refused.

Vargas  echoed that challenge to China bring the issue to ITLOS.The same sentiments were raised by Jackson Gan, a 58-year old Filipino of Chinese descent and president of Federated Associations of Manepower Exporters Inc (FAME).

Gan said, "The Scarborough Shoal is a property that can be discussed. We don't have to fight and bully everybody." He said that there is a proper venue for this matter, "Hindi natin kailangang mapunta sa away. (We don't have to fight.)"

If worse comes to worst, Gan said that the Philippines stands no chance against China's military might. "We are underdogs in this, economically, militarily," he said.

Another Filipino of foreign roots, Ramon Carrion, founding director of Spirit of EDSA Foundation, said "I am here to stand together with the rest of the Filipino people in the indignation against all this bullying going on by China."

Carrion said China claims that Scarborough Shoal has been part of their territory since 1279, the Yuan Dynasty. "With the logic that China is using, they could have claimed the moon to be theirs had they sent the first man there. Italy could claim the entirety of Europe because of the scale of the Roman Empire's reign."

"We are here to embarrass China, that's all we can do", he said.

In a statement former Akbayan representative  Risa Hontiveros said  "through a common sensical computation" they want to prove that Zambales and Palawan are Philippine  territory. They are pushing for a diplomatic and political solution on the Scarborough issue.

(Lloyd Reyes is a journalism student of the University of the Philippines who is writing for VERA Files as part of  his internship. VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options