NEW YORK CITY – Across the street from the Chinese Consulate in Manhattan, numerous Filipinos gathered to oppose China's intrusions in Scarborough Shoal.
The mass action is just one of at least 20 other similar protests held by Filipinos in major cities around the world on Friday.
Demonstrators are demanding for China to get out of the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea of the West Philippine Sea.
Ownership of the shoal is being disputed by China and the Philippines.
Community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis said China's stand and its overbearing actions in the Scarborough Shoal is a sign of bullying.
“Kung hindi tayo magsisigaw at magsasabi sa buong mundo na itong China is a bully na dahil sila ay malakas ay pwede nilang kunin, angkinin ang Pilipinas, mawawala tayo as a nation," Lewis of the US Pinoys for Good Governance said.
Emotions ran high during the peaceful protest, but Filipinos say they are not provoking China but they are only showing their love and patriotism for their motherland, the Philippines.
But Lewis also believes that when push comes to shove, the Philippines cannot fight China alone. She added that the Philippines can and will rely on the US for military assistance, a strong Philippine ally.
“Under the Mutual Defense Treaty, pag tayo pinaputukan, siguradong nariyan ang America. They cannot help it kung hindi mapapahiya din sila," she said.
"We need to support this issue. We need to get out and let the whole world hear our voices," Mario Garcia, Philippine-American Association.
San Francisco protest action
In San Francisco, dozens of people protested in front of the Chinese Consulate along Laguna Street, delivering the same message. Demonstrators said China needs to recognize that more than 11 million overseas Filipinos can influence public opinion and get sympathy for the Philippines in its row with China.
Rodel Rodis, president of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, organized the mass action. He cited that Filipinos need to stand united in this issue.
The Philippines is insisting that Scarborough Shoal is within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) based on the U.N. Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“If China claims that the Scaroborough Shoal is theirs, then anything within 200 miles of that area is theirs as well. That includes the Luzon Islands. That’s ridiculous!” Rodis said.
A recent report by the DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) assessed that “outmatched by China in terms of naval capabilities, the Philippines has looked to the United States and other countries to help pressure Beijing to respect international law in resolving the South China Sea disputes and to bolster Philippine capacity.” – with reports from Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau