PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

HAPPY JUNE 12th!

IN FRONT OF CHINESE AMBASSADOR, AQUINO CALLS FOR RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW


JUNE 12 ---President Benigno Aquino III leads the flag-raising ceremony of the 117th Independence Day celebration at the Santa Barbara town plaza in Iloilo on Friday, June 12. Also in photo are Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Marcelino Pascua 
ILOILO CITY, JUNE 15, 2015 (GMA NEWS) By ANDREO CALONZO, June 12, 2015 — With the Chinese ambassador in the audience, President Benigno Aquino III on Friday called for respect for international law, which has been his administration's tact in dealing with its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. During the traditional Independence Day vin d'honneur in the provincial capitol here, Aquino urged diplomats to unite in dealing with current global problems. "Join us, in this way, we can truly forge a global community in which each nation-state realizes that stability is hinged on their ability to work with others," Aquino said. "This is the clearest path towards a world where there is mutual respect and we are all bound by international law," he added. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua was one of the diplomats who attended the event. Aquino shook hands and briefly spoke with the Chinese envoy before the vin d'honneur. Earlier this year, Aquino said the Philippines' territorial row with China should be considered a global problem. Manila and Beijing have been locked in a territorial dispute over resource-rich parts of the South China Sea over the past years. China uses the so-called “nine-dash line” to assert ownership of almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines uses the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as basis for its claim. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH, China in ‘video war’ over South China Sea


JUNE 12 ---PHOTO FROM INSTITUTE OF MARITIMES AND CLEAN AFFAIRS --The Philippines will broadcast a three-part documentary to defend its position on the disputed South China Sea on Friday, countering a Chinese television series that laid out Beijing’s so-called nine-dash line claims. The documentary titled “Karapatan sa Dagat”, or maritime rights, will be aired on state-run television as the country observes Independence Day. “Our objective is to inform our people,” Charles Jose, the foreign ministry spokesman, said adding they hoped to “rally support of our people behind our Philippine government’s policy and action.” The Philippines has filed an arbitration case against China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in energy resources and where $5 trillion ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the sea. In 2013, China’s state-run CCTV network aired an eight-part documentary called “Journey on the South China Sea”, a rare peak into how Beijing was trying to consolidate its claims in the disputed sea. The “video war” comes as China rapidly expands its footprint in the South China Sea, constructing at least one airstrip and other military facilities on reclaimed land in the Spratly islands. READ MORE...

ALSO MALAYA COLUMN: Is China ready to be a global power?


JUNE 11 ---by NESTOR MATA 
CHINA, in economic, military and diplomatic terms, surely has the trappings of a global power. It is the world’s the second largest economy and the top trading nation; it also boasts the world’s largest foreign exchange reserve; its military budget is second only to that of the United States, and its arsenal of advanced weapons is quickly expanding. These are the views of many geopolitical analysts. Nevertheless, as one of them noted, there is much more to a global power than simply economic and military might. It is one thing to have power resources, geopolitical analyst Xie Tao wrote in The Diplomat magazine for Asia-Pacific current affairs, but it is another thing to translate these resources into preferred outcomes. The latter requires – among other things – strategic vision, political willingness and psychological readiness. Leaders in Beijing, as analyst Xie Tao noted in his article, appear to have a sophisticated vision for China’s role in international affairs, as exemplified by “a new model of major-power relations,” “major country foreign policy with Chinese characteristics,” and “One Belt, One Road.” But it is highly questionable that they are also politically willing and psychologically ready to turn that vision into reality. A global China has global interests, such as its investment in oil fields in the Sudan, pipelines in Myanmar, ports in Pakistan, and mines in Afghanistan. And as China goes global, so does the Chinese diaspora – businessmen, students, and workers. Protecting these interests – and many others – is one of the key challenges for Beijing. The evacuation of more than 30,000 Chinese nationals and the loss of multi-billion dollar oil investments during the Libya crisis amply demonstrate the urgency of such challenges. However, China’s willingness to protect overseas interests has its limits. Due to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Beijing has been extremely reluctant to intervene – politically or militarily – in another country’s domestic affairs. Thus, during the anti-Chinese riots in Jakarta in 1998, the Chinese government did nothing except for issuing a verbal protest. Such a stance undoubtedly adds to the credibility of Beijing’s commitment to non-interference, but it nevertheless badly hurts its image as the patriarch of Chinese expatriates.  READ MORE...

ALSO: How to mark 117 years of freedom, according to Noy Aquino, Fil-Ams in US


JUNE 12 ---LONG MAY IT WAVE Members of the Philippine Army practice raising a huge Philippine flag at Rizal Park in Manila on Thursday as part of preparations for Friday’s 117th Independence Day celebration. Departing from tradition, this year’s Independence Day ceremonies will be held in Iloilo’s Sta. Barbara town, where the Philippine flag was first raised outside of Luzon to inaugurate the provisional revolutionary government of the Visayas in 1898. JOAN BONDOC 
A group of Filipinos in the United States called for a boycott of all “Made in China” products as the “most meaningful way” to celebrate Independence Day even as President Aquino called on Filipinos living and working overseas to contribute to creating positive change in the country.
The Philippines celebrates the 117th anniversary of the proclamation of its independence Friday and Aquino will lead the Independence Day rites in Sta. Barbara in Iloilo province. The US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) said the boycott of Chinese-made goods was to protest Chinese bullying of the Philippines and their continued militarization of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chair of the USPGG, a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, has called on Filipinos based in the United States and other parts of the world to join mass actions against Beijing on June 12. In an Independence Day message to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Aquino said, “We call on you to exercise the rights and freedom borne from the toil of our ancestors and contribute toward shaping a more proactive and mature discourse.” He said Filipinos overseas must also “perpetuate positive change [in] the broader spectrum of society,” emphasizing their roles in releasing citizens “from the shackles of poverty, corruption and greed.”  “Together, let us weave our own voices of compassion and hope into a narrative of resilience and empowerment, and make tangible the legacy we are crafting: The Philippines we will all be proud to bequeath to coming generations,” Aquino said. READ MORE...

ALSO FLASHBACK INQUIRER REPORT: Loida Lewis is China’s newest public enemy No. 1


JULY 18, 2012 ---Loida Nicolas-Lewis Businesswoman is a Filipino-born American businesswoman, who is the widow of TLC Beatrice founder, CEO, Reginald F. Lewis. Fromm 1994-2000, Loida Nicolas Lewis served as Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice International, a $2 billio…  Born: 1942 · Sorsogon City, Philippines Net worth: $600 million USD (2015) Education: University of the Philippines · University of the Philippines College of Law Wikipedia  China’s newest Public Enemy No. 1 is no longer exiled human rights activist Chen Guancheng but Loida Nicolas-Lewis, the New York-based national chair of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG). After Lewis held a press conference in Manila on July 14 to announce the worldwide campaign to “Boycott Made in China Products,” China’s government-controlled media fired back with a newscast calling on the Chinese people to boycott a chain of convenience stores in China believed to be owned by Lewis. According to the English language translation of the nationwide newscast, “Chinese are not happy with one particular Filipino. The mastermind behind calling on Filipinos throughout the world to carry out large-scale anti-China demonstrations was revealed to be Filipino-American Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice (China), Limited, a Cayman company that operates retail convenience stores in four Chinese cities: Xiamen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Guangzhou. Chinese netizens were shocked by this news and urged a boycott on her businesses in China.” Unfortunately for Lewis’ former Chinese business partners who bought out Lewis’ ownership interest in the “Beatrice” stores – at a substantial discount – several years ago, the China authorities are boycotting a wholly-owned Chinese business. In her July 14 press conference in Manila, Lewis explained that her group’s call for the global boycott of all kinds of China-made products was a way of matching China’s diplomatic and military arrogance in claiming ownership of the Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea. READ MORE...

ALSO TIMES OPINION: The folly of our ‘freedom'


JUNE 14 ---by FR. SHAY CULLEN
Freedom can mean many things. On Independence Day, what is remembered and celebrated is freedom from colonial rule, from occupation by another nation. Some politicians and nationalists celebrate it as the “granting of Independence,” as if it was a gift that was bestowed by a generous colonial power and for which we should be forever grateful. In fact it is a right to be regained. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos fought and died in bloody atrocious wars against the Spanish and then soon after, against the American occupying forces and later against the Japanese. We must remember that nothing was “given” that was not first taken away by force of arms. There is no gift of sovereignty and independence is a sacred right for people to rule themselves and freely elect their own leaders. National Freedom for a people is to freely chart ones own destiny, write a constitution, elect a government of the people, for the people, by the people, who can freely choose those who will serve them with loyalty, integrity, honesty and sacrifice. They want their leaders to be wise, educated, dedicated to building a nation where the great universal values of human and economic rights and rule of just laws are respected and practiced equally for all. The Filipino patriots who fought for freedom wanted a nation like that, where there would be equal opportunity and freedom to live a dignified life and to prosper by hard work. A nation where the national resources and wealth are used fairly to generate wealth that is distributed fairly and which provides the means to live out the values enshrined in the constitution. Independence is supposed to bring this great benefit and many fought and died for such a freedom. True independence is to be free from the restraining and controlling power of any powerful and dominant nation and to be free from the economic chains and political engineering of multinational corporations. Sovereignty is the golden word of national freedom and expresses the values that can bring a people to a dignified life free from poverty, hunger, oppression, sickness, homelessness, unemployment and exploitation. READ MORE...

ALSO: FULL TEXT Pres. Aquino’s Independence Day speech


JUNE 12 ---Various groups are planning to do a condemnation rally at the Chinese Embassy on June 12 Talumpati ng kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III sa pagdiriwang ng Araw ng Kalayaan [Inihayag a Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, noong ika-12 ng Hunyo 2015]   Sa atin pong kasaysayan, madalas na ipinagdiriwang ang Araw ng Kalayaan sa Maynila. Marami po kasing mga pangyayari na may kaugnayan sa pagkakamit natin ng kalayaan na naganap sa Maynila at sa mga karatig nitong lugar. Bilang Pangulo, tayo naman po ay umiikot sa bansa, dahil alam nating ang kalayaang tinatamasa natin ngayon ay bunga ng pagkilos at paglaban ng napakaraming Pilipino, nasaan man silang bahagi ng Pilipinas. Noon nga pong 2011, nagpunta tayo sa Kawit, Cavite; sa 2012, sa Simbahan ng Barasoain sa Malolos, Bulacan; noong 2013, sa Liwasang Bonifacio sa Maynila, at nitong nakaraang taon, nagtungo tayo sa Naga, Camarines Sur. Ngayon po, nagtitipon tayo dito sa Sta. Barbara, Iloilo bilang pagkilala sa ambag ng Kabisayaan sa pakikipaglaban para sa kalayaan. Sa susunod pong taon, balak naman nating tumungo sa isang lalawigan sa Mindanao, upang doon tumingala sa watawat at magbalik-tanaw sa kabayanihan ng atin pong mga ninuno. Tandaan natin: Bilang arkipelago, hiwa-hiwalay ang isla ng Pilipinas. Noon nga po, limitado ang transportasyon kaya’t pahirapan ang pagbiyahe kahit sa mga karatig-bayan; wala ring teknolohiyang nagpapabilis ng komunikasyon. Isa po ito sa sinasabing dahilan kung bakit hindi nagsabay-sabay ang maraming pag-aaklas sa unang yugto ng ating rebolusyon. ITULOY PAGBASA (READ MORE)


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

In front of Chinese envoy, PNoy calls for respect for int’l law


President Benigno Aquino III leads the flag-raising ceremony of the 117th Independence Day celebration at the Santa Barbara town plaza in Iloilo on Friday, June 12. Also in photo are Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Marcelino Pascua

ILOILO CITY, JUNE 15, 2015 (GMA NEWS) By ANDREO CALONZO, June 12, 2015 — With the Chinese ambassador in the audience, President Benigno Aquino III on Friday called for respect for international law, which has been his administration's tact in dealing with its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.

During the traditional Independence Day vin d'honneur in the provincial capitol here, Aquino urged diplomats to unite in dealing with current global problems.

"Join us, in this way, we can truly forge a global community in which each nation-state realizes that stability is hinged on their ability to work with others," Aquino said.

"This is the clearest path towards a world where there is mutual respect and we are all bound by international law," he added.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua was one of the diplomats who attended the event. Aquino shook hands and briefly spoke with the Chinese envoy before the vin d'honneur.

Earlier this year, Aquino said the Philippines' territorial row with China should be considered a global problem.

Manila and Beijing have been locked in a territorial dispute over resource-rich parts of the South China Sea over the past years.

China uses the so-called “nine-dash line” to assert ownership of almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines uses the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as basis for its claim.

READ MORE...
The Philippines, which calls the disputed areas the “West Philippine Sea,” has already sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to nullify China’s massive claims over South China Sea.

Beijing, however, has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings, insisting instead on bilateral talks to settle the dispute.

‘Greater cooperation’

In the same speech, Aquino emphasized the need for “greater cooperation” against “global” threats, including pandemics, terrorism and climate change.

“Any practical mind would recognize that we must be concerned with our brother by necessity, especially in this shrinking world, where problems are less and less localized, and more and more common,” he said.

He also alluded to how countries dealt with the humanitarian issue caused by the Rohingya boat people, or the thousands of Burmese and Bangladeshi Rohingya refugees who were stuck in high seas.

“There is also the issue of displacement, in which violence or chaos in one part of the world induces the migration of families who are forced to seek refuge on other shores and with other governments,” Aquino said.

The President also cited how the Philippines has done its part in helping solve conflicts abroad by sending Filipino peacekeepers to war-torn areas.

“Instability, conflict, and chaos in other parts of the world will eventually make their effects felt on our shores. Doing nothing about the problem will force us one day to confront it when it is far more complex and unmanageable, and can no longer be ignored,” he said. — LBG/KBK, GMA News


MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

PH, China in ‘video war’ over South China Sea June 12, 2015


PHOTO FROM INSTITUTE OF MARITIMES AND CLEAN AFFAIRS

The Philippines will broadcast a three-part documentary to defend its position on the disputed South China Sea on Friday, countering a Chinese television series that laid out Beijing’s so-called nine-dash line claims.

The documentary titled “Karapatan sa Dagat”, or maritime rights, will be aired on state-run television as the country observes Independence Day.

“Our objective is to inform our people,” Charles Jose, the foreign ministry spokesman, said adding they hoped to “rally support of our people behind our Philippine government’s policy and action.”

The Philippines has filed an arbitration case against China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in energy resources and where $5 trillion ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the sea.

In 2013, China’s state-run CCTV network aired an eight-part documentary called “Journey on the South China Sea”, a rare peak into how Beijing was trying to consolidate its claims in the disputed sea.

The “video war” comes as China rapidly expands its footprint in the South China Sea, constructing at least one airstrip and other military facilities on reclaimed land in the Spratly islands.

READ MORE...
Jose said Manila was also planning to release a comic book to raise Filipinos’ awareness.

FLAG-RAISING

Philippine officials will raise today the Philippine flag at the Pag-asa island in the South China Sea or West Philippine as part of the 117th Independence Day celebration.

In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said it has become a tradition to raise the flag at the Philippine-occupied island on June 12.

“This will be led by local government officials, and of course, with the presence of our troops deployed there in the area,” said Cabunoc.

Pagasa island serves as the seat of government of Kalayaan town in Palawan.

The town was created in June 1978 by President Ferdinand Marcos by virtue of Presidential Decree 1596. It is under the political jurisdiction of Palawan but under the “custody and administration” of the Armed Forces.

“This is one way of showing that the island, where we have troops deployed, is owned by the Philippines and our soldiers are ready to defend and protect it from any armed aggression,” Cabunoc said of the flag-raising.

Asked if there will be similar ceremonies in the other eight islands occupied by Filipino troops, Cabunoc said: “There might be ceremonial (activities) because we have flags flying there.”

RIGHT TO BOYCOTT

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said overseas Filipinos have the right to call for a boycott of Chinese products.

The United States-based US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) called for a boycott of China-made products until “China abandons its illegal invasion, occupation and militarization of the Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea.”

USPGG also urged its members in the US as well as other overseas Filipinos join an anti-China protest action on June 12. The rallies would be held in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, among others.

“We acknowledge their right to assemble peaceably and express their sentiments on issues affecting their homeland. We affirm our belief in peaceful and diplomatic approaches to conflict resolution,” Coloma said. – Reuters with Victor Reyes and Jocelyn Montemayor


MALAYA COLUMN OF THE DAY

Is China ready to be a global power? Submitted by NESTOR MATA on June 11, 2015


by NESTOR MATA

CHINA, in economic, military and diplomatic terms, surely has the trappings of a global power. It is the world’s the second largest economy and the top trading nation; it also boasts the world’s largest foreign exchange reserve; its military budget is second only to that of the United States, and its arsenal of advanced weapons is quickly expanding.

These are the views of many geopolitical analysts. Nevertheless, as one of them noted, there is much more to a global power than simply economic and military might. It is one thing to have power resources, geopolitical analyst Xie Tao wrote in The Diplomat magazine for Asia-Pacific current affairs, but it is another thing to translate these resources into preferred outcomes.

The latter requires – among other things – strategic vision, political willingness and psychological readiness.

Leaders in Beijing, as analyst Xie Tao noted in his article, appear to have a sophisticated vision for China’s role in international affairs, as exemplified by “a new model of major-power relations,” “major country foreign policy with Chinese characteristics,” and “One Belt, One Road.” But it is highly questionable that they are also politically willing and psychologically ready to turn that vision into reality.

A global China has global interests, such as its investment in oil fields in the Sudan, pipelines in Myanmar, ports in Pakistan, and mines in Afghanistan. And as China goes global, so does the Chinese diaspora – businessmen, students, and workers.

Protecting these interests – and many others – is one of the key challenges for Beijing. The evacuation of more than 30,000 Chinese nationals and the loss of multi-billion dollar oil investments during the Libya crisis amply demonstrate the urgency of such challenges.

However, China’s willingness to protect overseas interests has its limits. Due to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Beijing has been extremely reluctant to intervene – politically or militarily – in another country’s domestic affairs.

Thus, during the anti-Chinese riots in Jakarta in 1998, the Chinese government did nothing except for issuing a verbal protest. Such a stance undoubtedly adds to the credibility of Beijing’s commitment to non-interference, but it nevertheless badly hurts its image as the patriarch of Chinese expatriates.

READ MORE...
The Jakarta riots occurred in the early days of China’s rapid rise. If similar incidents take place today, rising domestic expectations – flamed by Chinese and foreign media hype about a rejuvenated Middle Kingdom – and the power of the internet will almost certainly make it impossible for Beijing to adopt a hands-off approach.

Moreover, if Beijing expects overseas Chinese to have cultural identities and political sympathies with the mainland, then the latter will expect the former to offer more than lip service in times of crises. For China to be a global power, therefore, one of the most difficult questions is what it should do when interests conflict with principles.

A global power has not only global interests, but also global responsibilities, such as climate change, nuclear non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, anti-piracy, to name just a few. Having overseas military bases should probably help China better fulfill some of these responsibilities.

However, leaders in Beijing have shown no intention at all of stationing troops overseas, despite increasing calls by Chinese pundits to the contrary. China’s leaders continue to deny all rumors that they are seeking to establish bases overseas.

From Beijing’s perspective, setting up overseas military bases is tantamount to building a military alliance with the host country (even though military basing arrangements in practice do not require a formal alliance).

China’s leaders have repeatedly denounced such alliances as remnants of the Cold War. Instead Beijing has touted its “network of partnerships” as the substitute for security alliances. In fact, even between China and Pakistan – a relationship characterized by top Chinese leaders as an “all-weather” strategic partnership – there is no formal security treaty.

China’s reluctance to formalize security relationships has so far prevented it from taking the logical next step in becoming a true global power: pursuing overseas bases.

Even if we assume that at some point in the future China will have overseas military bases and that the government is willing to deploy troops to places where its own vital interests – or the interests of the international community – are threatened, two more questions arise:

Are the Chinese people willing to send their sons and daughters to fight on foreign soil? Are they ready to confront images of their beloved ones coming home in draped caskets?

Last but not certainly not least, overseas intervention will likely incur the wrath of foreigners who are deeply upset by China’s policies, and they may well take revenge by attacking Chinese nationals abroad or even conducting terrorist attacks in Chinese cities. Are the Chinese government and the Chinese people ready to face such consequences?

It takes more than economic resources and military capabilities to make a global power, as amply illustrated by the case of the United States. Neither Chinese leaders nor Chinese citizens, however, seem psychologically ready – at least in the foreseeable future – for the challenges, responsibilities, and consequences that result from China being a global power.

Geopolitical analyst Xie Tao’s views are somewhat different from those of Dr. Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow and director for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, who baldly predicted in his new book “The Hundred-Year Marathon” that China will supplant the United States as the world’s sole superpower by 2049.

***

So far, the whole world has been watching exchanges of words of warning and threats between the United States and China over the latter’s land reclamation and naval build-up activities in the South China Sea.

China says if the US attempts to stop what is doing in the Spratlys, it will go war. The US says if China closes the Taiwan Strait, it will go to war, but, to global affairs watcher Bernie Lopez of Eastwind Journal based in Australia, “both are not really in mood for a real war. It’s just saber-rattling, but psyche-wars can lead to real wars by accident.”

So, he asked, when will the word war evolve into a world war? That’s hard to predict, he answered. But to achieve peace, he again asked, should we call on the US to stop its efforts towards global military presence, and also ask China to stop its territorial expansion in the South China Sea? And finally, is a US-China Asia Pacific war therefore inevitable, a matter of time? When, next year or in a decade or two?

Well, as we have said many times before, “a word war is better than a world war!”

***

Thought of the Day: “One of the commonest ailments of the present day is premature formation of an opinion.” – Anon.


INQUIRER

How to mark 117 years of freedom, according to Noy Aquino, Fil-Ams in US SHARES: 73 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jerry E. Esplanada and Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:55 AM June 12th, 2015


LONG MAY IT WAVE Members of the Philippine Army practice raising a huge Philippine flag at Rizal Park in Manila on Thursday as part of preparations for Friday’s 117th Independence Day celebration. Departing from tradition, this year’s Independence Day ceremonies will be held in Iloilo’s Sta. Barbara town, where the Philippine flag was first raised outside of Luzon to inaugurate the provisional revolutionary government of the Visayas in 1898. JOAN BONDOC

A group of Filipinos in the United States called for a boycott of all “Made in China” products as the “most meaningful way” to celebrate Independence Day even as President Aquino called on Filipinos living and working overseas to contribute to creating positive change in the country.

The Philippines celebrates the 117th anniversary of the proclamation of its independence Friday and Aquino will lead the Independence Day rites in Sta. Barbara in Iloilo province.

The US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) said the boycott of Chinese-made goods was to protest Chinese bullying of the Philippines and their continued militarization of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chair of the USPGG, a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, has called on Filipinos based in the United States and other parts of the world to join mass actions against Beijing on June 12.

In an Independence Day message to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Aquino said, “We call on you to exercise the rights and freedom borne from the toil of our ancestors and contribute toward shaping a more proactive and mature discourse.”

He said Filipinos overseas must also “perpetuate positive change [in] the broader spectrum of society,” emphasizing their roles in releasing citizens “from the shackles of poverty, corruption and greed.”

“Together, let us weave our own voices of compassion and hope into a narrative of resilience and empowerment, and make tangible the legacy we are crafting: The Philippines we will all be proud to bequeath to coming generations,” Aquino said.

READ MORE...
“We are reminded that ours is a democracy earned through the valiant sacrifices of our predecessors and a relentless pursuit of peace, development and solidarity,” the President said in his message to OFWs posted on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

Contrarians, negativity

In Iloilo City, the President on Thursday urged “contrarians” to free themselves of their negativity, especially so that their pessimism affects government services meant for the people.

“I understand that we are in a democracy and anyone is free to express their sentiments. But what I cannot understand [is] people who do nothing but look for negatives in anything positive that we do,” he told his audience at the Iloilo provincial capitol.

“It’s been said that in any society in the world, there is what they call a ‘contrarian.’ They are the people who would oppose whatever you suggest…. That’s what makes them happy,” he said.

The President said it would not matter if the criticisms affected only him, but what pained him was that at times, even projects and programs for the benefit of the citizenry were affected.

The contrarians, he said, seemed happiest looking for the smallest faults that could slow down, if not completely stop, benefits that should have been for the people.

Help find solutions

“I hope that instead of complaining, [the contrarians] would help us find additional solutions. We are ready to listen but they don’t give suggestions. As I said, tomorrow is Independence Day. I hope they would free themselves from their narrow-mindedness,” the President said.

Aquino said there was more than enough proof that he had kept his promise in 2010 of significant change in the country. “[O]nly those who cover their eyes and ears [can’t] see and hear the reforms we are now enjoying.”

But he stressed that all the positive changes in the country should be credited to the Filipino people.

He recalled that recently abroad, he was asked who would continue the reforms that he started and how the country would fare after he steps down from office.

“My answer: No one else would continue all these positive changes but the Filipinos themselves. You will make sure that you will side with what is right and just, you will make sure that we will never lose our way again and we [will] continue the progress we are making as one nation,” he said, adding:

“It is [we] Filipinos who [will] write the future of the Philippines.”

Asked about Lewis’ call for a boycott of Chinese goods, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told the Inquirer: “We acknowledge their right to assemble peacefully and express their sentiments on issues affecting their homeland.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte called the planned protest rallies “part of the democratic space that we have.”

“We respect the manner they wish to employ to express their stand,” she said in a text message.

In a statement, Lewis said that “while we cannot individually fight China militarily, we can do so economically by boycotting Made in China products.”

Wal-Mart, Apple

“[T]he largest distributors of China products in the United States are Wal-Mart and Apple. That is why we are calling for a boycott of those stores,” she said.

She observed “a sustained, organized boycott of China-made products may have been a factor in an unexpected decline in Chinese exports to the United States.”

Quoting a Reuters report, Lewis said that Chinese exports to the United States and other countries “fell by a massive 14.6 percent in March from a year ago.”

This, she said, surprised many economists who had projected that China’s exports would increase by double digits this year.

Boycotting all Chinese products in the Philippines, which include a wide range of goods may be more difficult. In 2014, the Philippines imported P418.5 billion from China but exported to China P373.5 billion, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Picket

Shortly before noon Friday, Lewis is scheduled to personally lead a picket of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in New York City.

In Washington, the mass action will be held in front of Wal-Mart Supercenter at H and 1st Streets in Chinatown.

Similar rallies will be conducted in Los Angeles, Chicago and Saipan, among other areas hosting Filipino-American communities in the United States.

In the Philippines, USPGG affiliate groups, including Di Ka Pasisiil Movement, were scheduled to hold at noon Friday a “Martsa para sa Kalayaan” (March for Freedom) in front of the Chinese consulate on Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. The movement is led by former Rep. Roy Golez.

Other groups taking part in the rally include Bantay Bayan, ROTC Philippines, United Filipino Seafarers and Filipino Patriotic Solidarity Movement.

Selfie campaign

“Those who cannot attend the protest rallies are asked to join our selfie campaign,” said leaders of Martsa para sa Kalayaan Network (MKN).

They advised protesters to “take a cellular phone photo of yourself holding a sign like “China, go away! Kalayaan is ours!” or a translation of that in your local dialect.”

“You may pose in front of the Philippine flag or map. Post the selfie in your timeline, use it as a profile picture and tag the Martsa para sa Kalayaan Facebook page,” said Jose Rizal Reyes, one of the MKN leaders.–With a report from Niña P. Calleja


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE