West Philippines (South China) Sea Day of Prayer Worldwide

[photo from flickriver]

August 21, 2012: Over 300 cities and towns in the Philippines, United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and other Asian countries will conduct simultaneous prayer rallies today, Tuesday, for the peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

In a statement posted in the US Pinoys for Good Governance website, the organizers said the prayer rallies would be held as part of the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the Scarborough Shoal.

The group is also calling on people to "boycott" all China-made products.

According to USPGG spokesman Ted Laguatan, the boycott was a "non-violent" way to dramatize their protest against China's "bullying" tactics towards the Philippines and other claimants in the South China Sea.

"In his State of the Nation Address on July 23, Pres. Aquino asked for solidarity from the Filipino people regarding the issue of China's illegal occupation of the Scarborough Shoal. He asked us to speak with one voice on this issue, and on August 21 we will,  with one voice, express our solidarity with the Filipino people and tell China not to dare invade the Philippines," Laguatan said in a statement released on Monday.

In the Philippines, Laguatan said, there were 200 Church leaders of all faiths and denominations as well as top political and business leaders who would join the prayer rally and express their united stand on the issue.

The prayer rally will be attended by different speakers, such as US Pinoys national chair Loida Nicolas Lewis, Rep. Walden Bello, Rep. Riza Hontiveros, Pastor Francis M. Nicolas, Bishop Leo Alconga of the Philippine for Jesus Movement, Bishop Chito Sanches of the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and former Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela.

In June, the USPGG held a rally in front of the United Nations headquarters calling for a boycott of Chinese products, urging Beijing to stop its "creeping aggression toward countries around the South China Sea."

China claims ownership of 90 percent of the South China Sea based on its nine-dash line, some of which are also being contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Two months ago Beijing established Sansha City and built a military garrison to administer control of   the islands and waters in the South China Sea despite strong protests from Manila and Hanoi.

The city also established its own legislative body and elected members of the municipal government, while Beijing sent officers and soldiers from the People's Liberation Army's to man the garrison.

In an interview, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said that Manila will try to resolve the issue through diplomatic means and through the application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos.

However, the Chinese government had said it preferred to settle the issue through bilateral talks with concerned countries.

Beijing is also at loggerheads with Tokyo over the Senkaku Island, which the Chinese call Diaoyu, and which both countries claim as their own.

Manila Standard Today

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