By Tambi Wycoco
NEW YORK – Following the ruling of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague saying China has “no legal basis” to claim resources in the South China Sea, aka West Philippine Sea, Filipinos in the Greater New York Area converged across the United Nations Headquarters on 1st Avenue at the Ralph Bunche Park (also known as New York’s Peace Park) in celebration and to rally support for the ruling.
The Philippine Government filed the case against China in 2013. China claimed ownership of the seas on historical basis and using the 9-dash lines. The Philippines meanwhile argued its territorial claim through merits of the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea.
A group of close to 100 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, mostly clad in yellow t-shirts, shirts and blouses formed a gaggle of chanting, singing circles of people celebrating the court’s decision.
Toting placards and posters big and small saying “China: Abide by UN Court Ruling!” and “China: Get Out of Philippine Seas!” and others, rally participants were led by the core group leader of U.S. Filipinos for Good Governance (USF4GG), international philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis.
Other USF4GG core group members seen at the rally were Ernie Gange, from Bucks County, PA; Joe Ramos and Angie Cruz from New York, and many others from the tri-state Filipino and Filipino-American community.
The rally was called for at noon and was scheduled as soon as the court in The Hague announced the previous week that the decision would be announced at 11:00 a.m. Central European Summer Time (5:00 a.m. same day in New York), July 12, 2016.
Following the announcement, rallies were hastily scheduled by USF4GG across the United States, Canada and around the world timed also for 12:00 noon (local time), July 12: in Washington, DC; San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; and Houston, TX. Canada USF4GG leaders and members held theirs in Toronto and Vancouver. Across the seas, rallies took place in the islands of Saipan and Tinian in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
USF4GG in Guam also had their rally, and so with Manila, in the Philippines. In those other places, rallies were held in front of or across the street from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. (Photo by Ms. Juliet Payabyab)