Philippines’ best weapon against China? Prayers

Posted on August 23, 2012


Paper advocates using power of worship in pursuit of South China Sea resolution

Activists hold placards in front of the Chinese consulate demanding the withdrawal of Chinese ships from the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea during a protest in Manila’s Makati financial district April 19, 2012. (Credit: Reuters)

Manila: Organisers upheld the use of prayers to pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the overlapping claims of China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, a local paper said.

The Philippines has the power of worship compared to China’s military power in the South China Sea, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chairperson of US-Pinoys for Good Governance and the Manila-based Good Governance and the Body of Christ Movement in the Philippines told the Inquirer.

All Filipinos should to join the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the Scarborough Shoal, which started August 21 at the Rockwell Tent, a commercial area in Makati, the country’s financial district, Catholic priest Robert Reyes also told the Inquirer.

Every Filipinos should “fast and pray for justice and peace, most of all because we love our motherland,” said Reyes, adding that prayers and fasting is the best way to ease tension between China and the Philippines.

Although he was not able to attend the launching of the campaign, Father Reyes said he has already called everyone to pray for peace with China.
Father Reyes, known as the “running priest for running for causes he has espoused, would not use his limbs in this campaign.

Apart from prayers, the group supports the Philippine government’s diplomatic approach in solving the China-Philippine conflict on the South China Sea, Nicolas-Lewis said.
It is still the best way not to agitate China, she explained, adding, “We don’t want anything that is aggressive for now. This is all conciliatory (as) I’m reaching out already to the (next) leaders in China.”

She referred to China’s elections in October.

Earlier, Nicolas-Lewis called for the boycott of Chinese product in her campaign against China’s alleged bullying of the Philippines over overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

At the time, China responded by calling for the boycott of the products sold by Beatrice, Nicolas-Lewis’ food company in China.

It turned out, however, that China’s branch of Beatrice Food was already bought by a Chinese company.

Nicolas-Lewis was accompanied by Filipino-American blogger Vonz Santos, Bishop Chito Sanches of Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and Vietnamese lawyer Hoi Trinh of the Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment.

More than 300 cities and towns in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Philippines supported the campaign, said Nicolas-Lewis, adding the campaign is expected to become ‘global”.

Similar prayer rallies were also held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue and 51st Street in New York; at St. Timothy’s Church on Washtenaw Avenue in Chicago; at the Divine Mercy of Our Lord Catholic Church on East Cartwright Rd. in Texas; at the Korean American Methodist Church in Augusta, Georgia. Filipino priests led the said events.

Discussions of the South China issue were also held at the Asian American Centre at Georgia State University in Atlanta; and at the Martin Luther King Memorial on Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive in Washington D.C.

Last April, Chinese and Philippine vessels were involved in a standoff near the Scarborough Shoal.

China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim the whole of the South China Sea, based on their respective historical rights. Brunei, Malaysia, and Philippines claim some parts of the Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea, based on the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone from their shoes as stated in the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Barbara Mae Dacanay

Posted in: Politics