Protest march against China bullying set on Friday
By Recto Mercene
FORMER congressman Roilo Golez announced on Monday that his Di Ka Pasisiil Movement will join the multisectoral Martsa Para sa Kalayaan protest action on June 12, Independence Day, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati City to denounce China’s illegal reclamations at the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other parts of it in violation of the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and international law.
Golez is one of the leading civil- society advocates opposing China’s incursions that started with the illegal grabbing of the Mischief Reef and later the Scarborough Shoal inside the country’s EEZ.
The march will be led by young professionals belonging to the Martsa Para Sa Kalayaan Network, headed by youth leader Eufemio Agbayani III, who also led a successful march last year.
Other groups that will join are the Parañaque Riders Club, Armas Riders, Filipino Patriotic Solidarity Movement, United Filipino Seafarers, HOPE Inc., some members of UP Vanguard Reserve Officers Training Corps, ROTC Philippines and retired Armed Forces generals. Other like-minded groups were invited to join.
The rally will start at 10:30 a.m. on June 12 in front of the Chinese Consulate on Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, across Mapúa Institute of Technology’s Makati campus.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), meanwhile, said its legal team will study the value of the Murillo-Velarde map to determine its usefulness in regard to the arbitration case it filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands.
“We’re glad the map is now in the hands of a Filipino. As to its value in the arbitration case, we will defer it to the legal team,” DFA Spokesman Charles Jose said in a media briefing.
Jose was referring to the almost 300-year-old map of the Philippines showing the disputed Scarborough Shoal being part of Philippine territory as far back as three centuries ago.
The map was bought at an auction by Filipino businessman Mel Velarde for $266,869.46, or more than P12 million.
Velarde said the first certified true copy of the map has been reserved for Malacañang, and he will personally present it to President Aquino on June 12, the anniversary of Philippine independence.
The Murillo-Velarde map debunks the so-called nine-dash line map China has been using as proof of its claim over the whole West Philippine Sea.
It also locates the Scarborough Shoal, then known as Panacot, also called Panatag by Filipinos, some 150 kilometers off Luzon, then known as Nueva Castilla.
Renamed Scarborough Shoal after an English sailor, the Shoal has been made a target area or “impact point” by the US military during its decades of stay at Clark Field and Subic Naval Base without any protest from China.
Three years ago, a standoff developed between the Philippines and China, when Filipino authorities tried to arrest Chinese fishermen found illegally fishing at the Scarborough Shoal.
China blocked the arrest, sending paramilitary vessels to surround the Philippine patrol ships.
The face-off lasted two months before the US intervened, securing assurances from both sides to withdraw vessels from the disputed rock formation in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines left, but China ignored the deal and its coast guard and fishermen stayed at the shoal.