CHICAGO (jGLi) – Prior to U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance, there were the propaganda movements in Madrid, Spain and the “Steak Commandos” in the U.S. during martial law.
Fr. Arnold Abelardo, the spiritual adviser of then Sen. Benigno Aquino III during the 2010 presidential elections, believes outspoken Filipinos overseas should not abandon the role of speaking up their minds when such opinions may not find print in Philippine newspapers or may not be verbalized in radio or television outlets.
Father Abelardo, a Claretian Missionary priest, told a handful of Filipino Americans, who attended a mass and prayer rally at St. Timothy Church at 6326 N. Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, marking the 29th death anniversary of President Aquino’s martyred father, Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr., that “U.S. Pinoys are appreciated in the Philippines.
Kung may mga taong hindi nakakapagsalita sa Pilipinas, ang U.S. Pinoys ay siyang nagsasabi nito. (If there are people, who cannot speak their minds in the Philippines, the U.S. Pinoys can do so here.)”
Like Filipino exiles before them, U.S. Pinoys can now use Facebook, Twitter and Internet to open a debate that leads to international debate that can influence the U.S. government and the United Nations, the Catholic priest said.
He said although “China has the muscle, the Filipinos have the spirit or the soul. If you want to show anger to China, huwag kang kumain (you fast from eating Chinese food). Sometimes, when you don’t want to eat the food served on you by your mother to show your anger, you don’t eat the food.”
Father Abelardo added the good thing about incumbent President Aquino is that he has not sold out the Filipinos, unlike his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who entered into a compromise with the Chinese government by getting entangled in the NBN/ZTE mess and other agreements that appeared to have ceded parts of the Philippine territory to China in the Philippine Western Sea.
CHINA BE DECLARED A “TERRORIST COUNTRY”?
One of those who attended the prayer and vigil rally, Bart SG. Tubalinal, a Chicago-based publisher-editor of Fil Am Megascene, believes in the straight path being trodden by President Aquino, who should be given another six-year term as Mr. Aquino might not be able to accomplish what he has set out to do. The Philippine Constitution, however, only limits a Philippine president to a one-term six years in office.
Another Chicago community organizer, Marlon L. Pecson, wants to elevate China’s bullying of the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries up to an international level that will qualify China as a “terrorist country.” It will frame China within the countries that are opposed by Global War against Terrorism waged by the United States, NATO and other allied countries against Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries involved in the September 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
Filipino lawyer Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., said one reason the United States Senate has not ratified the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is so that the U.S. will not be bound by the treaty in limiting its navigation beyond the 12-nautical miles limit of UNCLOS signatory countries. On the other hand, US’s non-ratification will tie its hand in vetoing motion that could oppose China’s overreaching its territory in the Philippine Western Sea (formerly South China Sea).
Although Father Abelardo has no comment on the boycott of China-product movement called by U.S. Pinoys and some Vietnam- and Laotian-American sectors, Filipino American leader Loida Nicolas Lewis called for fasting from 12- to 24 hours to enlighten the new government, which will take over China before the end of the year, so China will stop its bullying of the Philippines.
In Washington, D.C. on Aug. 21, leaders of the Filipino, Vietnamese, Laotian and Asian American communities and their allies held a “Prayer Rally for Peace in the Southeast Asian Sea” in front of the Martin L. King Memorial MLK at sunset to protest the recent bullying actions against Asian neighbors and the widespread human rights violations by the government of the People’s Republic of the China (PRC).
The rallyists at the ceremonies in the nation’s capital were led in prayer by Catholic priest Fr., Andrew Gonzalo and Protestant Pastor Mariano Gabor, both from Maryland. Short speeches were also given by their leaders to announce their boycott of Made in China products.
They honored the martyrdom of Reverend King on April 4, 1968 and of Philippine Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. who was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the Manila airport when he returned from exile to protest the Marcos dictatorship.
The Filipino and Vietnamese American leaders were dressed in yellow, displayed their banners and national flags, prayed and sang songs. They called for a nationwide campaign to persuade American consumers to boycott “Made in China” products and to choose better alternatives like “Made in USA.”
The Filipino, Vietnamese and Lao leaders plan to protest at future visits of PRC Chinese government officials in Washington until the PRC government complies with international laws that protect territorial sovereignty of the Philippines and Vietnam over their seas and that uphold human rights of the Chinese people.
In April 2012, China’s government blocked 100,000 Chinese tourists from visiting the Philippines and embargoed Philippine banana and pineapple imports after the Philippine government protested China’s creeping invasion of the West Philippine Seas around PH Scarborough Shoal area.
The US Senate in June 2011 and recently passed resolutions deploring China’s aggression in the Southeast Asian Sea and increased tensions in the area that may lead to military conflict.
In 1955, Rev. King presided over the Montgomery Bus Boycott to protest racial segregation and to seek equal rights in America for black Americans. King gave his historic “I have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington rally.
Sadly, the MLK granite monument materials were mined, designed, and produced in China starting 2007. It caused wide spread controversy and protests from African Americans, artists, human rights activists and labor leaders when the monument opened on August 28, 2011. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
JOINT FIL-VIETNAM-LAOTIAN RALLY:
Using the monument of democracy icon Martin Luther King, Jr., as backdrop, U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance led by Daisy Tucay, Catholic priest Fr. Andrew Gonzalo and Protestant Pastor Mariano Gabor, both from Maryland, were joined by Vietnam and Laotian U.S. activists on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. during a rally for peace in Southeast Asian sea and the boycott of Made-in-China products, as they marked the martyrdom of Philippine Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Reverend King, who led the successful boycott of racist White businesses in the South that led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (jGLiPhoto courtesy of uspgg.org photo)
UNITY IN PRAYER:
Some Filipino Americans who attended the mass and prayer rally at St. Timothy Church at 6326 N. Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, marking the 29th death anniversary of President Aquino’s martyred father, Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr.. gather in this photo op. Photo shows from left Evelyn Arboleda, Helen Sison, Fr. Arnold Abelardo, Nimfa Banate, Anne Sabadaska, F.T. Basa, Erlinda Labastida, Marlene Fernandez, Helen Tulin, Remy Guico and unidentified. Back row from left are Cheryl Arboleda, Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., Marlon L. Pecson, Butch Balbuena, Bart Tubalinal and Yoly Tubalinal. (jGLiPhoto by Joseph G. Lariosa)