Loida Lewis to China: ‘Mga walanghiya’

'Wanna be a world power? First be a citizen of the world and follow the rule of law,' says Lewis. Photos by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

Edwin Josue may be Filipino-Chinese, but during the May 11 protest rally against China, he was “first and foremost” a Filipino.

Josue, a real estate broker, was one of about 75 FilAms who marched to the Chinese Consulate building on 42nd Street and 12th Avenue to protest alleged Chinese incursion into Philippine territory. The protesters, led by community and business leader Loida Nicolas Lewis, chanted “We want China out, now!”

Anti-China rallies were held simultaneously in the Philippines, New York, Washington D.C. and other cities around the world where Filipinos have a major presence. The rallies called on China to leave the Philippine waters and stop “bullying” the country.

“Mga walanghiya,” said an angry Lewis to the Chinese government, using the strongest language in Tagalog to mean “you are shameless.”

“Sabihin natin sa China hindi tama yan! Gusto mong maging world power? Then be a citizen of the world and follow the rule of law. Mahiya sila! Napaka-walanghiya na aangkinin lang yung atin. Hindi tama yan,” she said through a megaphone.

The standoff between the Philippines and China has intensified after Beijing asserted its claim over the Bajo de Masinloc (or Scarborough Shoal) as part of its “historical territory.” Lewis said the Bajo de Masinloc has always been part of the Philippine map since 1734. A Jesuit priest who studied the Philippine islands made the map that showed the Bajo de Masinloc is part of the Masinloc town in Zambales, she alleged.

Edwin Josue

The Philippines maintains it has sovereign rights over the waters around Bajo de Masinloc. The area is suspected of having huge deposits of oil and gas. Of course this has interested China, said Lewis.

And as if this was not enough, earlier this week, reports say a Chinese news anchor on state TV was quoted as saying “China has unquestioned sovereignty over the Philippines.” The remark incensed many Filipinos.

Lewis said the Philippines is set to file on June 12 a dispute against China’s alleged imperialist tactics before the International Tribunal.

“China may not listen to us but we’re making noise urging other nations to help us,” said Hermie Aczon, president of the Philippine Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia, an umbrella of 24 organizations.

Josue said he wished the international community would rally behind the Philippines and that China leave Scarborough Shoal. “It is our right to defend our territorial limits,” he said.

The hour-long rally ended peacefully at 1 p.m. after the yellow-shirted protesters spoke out against Beijing and sang nationalist songs.

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