NEW YORK, USA — Over 300 cities and towns in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Philippines have already signed up to join the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the Scarborough Shoal on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 to pray for a peaceful resolution of the Philippines territorial dispute with China and to call for a boycott of China-made products as a non-violent protest against China’s “creeping invasion” of the Philippines.
This was announced today by Ted Laguatan, spokesman of the US Filipinos for Good Governance, which is coordinating the global protest.
“In his State of the Nation Address on July 23, Pres. Aquino asked for solidarity from the Filipino people regarding the issue of China’s illegal occupation of the Scarborough Shoal,” Laguatan said. “He asked us to speak with one voice on this issue, and on August 21, we will, with one voice, express our solidarity with the Filipino people and tell China not to dare invade the Philippines,” he added.
Laguatan also announced that on August 21, a press conference will be held at the Rockwell Tent in Makati to be attended by more than 200 church leaders of all faiths and denominations as well as top political and business leaders to express the unified voice of the Filipino people on this issue.
Headlining the impressive list speakers will be US Pinoys national chair Loida Nicolas Lewis, Rep. Walden Bello, Rep. Riza Hontiveros, Pastor Francis M. Nicolas, Bishop Leo Alconga (Philippine Jesus Movement, PJM), Bishop Chito Sanches of Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and former Gov. Grace Padaca from Isabela.
Religious advisers of boxing champ Manny Pacquiao indicated that the “Pacman” may also attend the press conference to express his solidarity with the Filipino people on this issue.
Pacquiao was featured in a youtube video by a Taiwan company that showed the Scarborough dispute settled by a boxing march betrween Pacquiao and the China bear.
PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL
Catholic Churches throughout the US will include in the Prayer of the Faithful the line written by Fr. Mark Reburiano, parish priest of St. Isabel Church in San Rafael, California: “We pray for God’s enlightenment for a peaceful and just resolution of the Scarborough Shoal dispute between the governments of the Philippines and China, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.”
Because of the recent calamitous flooding in the Philippines, a special prayer has also been included in the August 21 masses: “For the people of the Philippines who are experiencing terrible flooding: that the government and aid organizations may quickly come to ease their suffering, we pray to the Lord.”
The New York mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 12 noon at 5th Avenue and 51st Street officiated by Fr. Jose Marabe. Philippine Consul General Mario de Leon willo read the prayer for the faithful. He will be joined by members of the Philippine Consulate staff. “The Consulate officials and staff endorse the call for peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Panatag Shoal but cannot officially endorse our call for a boycott,” explained Joe Ramos, US Pinoys New York coordinator. Other groups attending the New York prayer mass are members of Region 1 of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF) and the Knights of Rizal.
In Chicago, a mass and prayer rally will be held at St. Timothy’s Church at 6326 N. Washtenaw Avenue with Fr. Arnold Abelardo as special guest.
A Texas mass will be held at Divine Mercy of Our Lord Catholic Church at 1585 East Cartwright Rd. in Mesquite at 6 PM led by Rev. Fr. Ernie Torres. A forum on the issue will be held at the Asian American Center at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
In Washington DC, a solidarity forum sponsored jointly by US Pinoys with the Vietnamese American community will be held at 6:30 PM at the Martin Luther King Memorial on Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive.
BAY AREA COORDINATORS
In San Francisco, the main prayer mass will be held on August 21 at 5:30 PM at the St. Thomas More Church at 1300 Junipero Serra Blvd. (off Brotherhood Way) which is being coordinated by Jinni Bartolome, Rudy Asercion and Helen Marte.
According to Charito Benipayo, the Bay Area coordinator for the August 21 Global Day of Prayer masses and forums, the following convenors are coordinating the August 21 events in their cities: Bernadette Roco for Alameda; Laymon Jones and Isagani Pugao for Berkeley/Oakland; Tony Villegas for Brentwood; Josie Otto, Rudy Fernandez, and Fr. Abe Alonzo for Concord & Antioch; Rad and Ofelia Abarrientos for Daly City, Demos Punsalan for Fremont-; Phil and Edna Esguerra for San Jose; Ramon Bunag for South San Francisco; Myrna Brown and Becky Parma for San Leandro- ; Joe and Lynn Santos and Fr. Bart Bartolome for San Mateo; Manny Barameda for St. Epiphany Church; Nimfa Gamez for San Ramon; Ofelia Castro for Santa Rosa; Vince and Lorna Llamas and-Rev. Fr Baraan for Union City; Fr. Mark Reburiano for Marin County; and Noel Calisa and Hermy Sunga for Vallejo.
The August 21 Global Day of Prayer for Peace coincides with the 29th anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, as his example of patriotism and willingness to sacrifice for the Philippines is the inspiration of the participants.
The special prayer for the August 21 events prepared by Rev. Abe Alonzo includes this reference: “Finally Lord, you command us to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Today, marks the day when one of our nation’s greatest heroes – Ninoy, gave us a perfect example of this commandment. Shortly before he died he said: “The Filipino is worth dying for.” To die for one’s country is a call for some but to love our country is a call for all. Ninoy has given us a new standard of loving everything of who we are and by his death he gave birth to People Power that ushered in the re-birth of a new people. May this day be a new beginning for us to truly love ourselves and our country and if necessary to die for it – as Ninoy did!”
“We do not ask people to make the same sacrifice that Ninoy Aquino did. A little sacrifice is all we ask like boycotting made in China products,” Laguatan explained. “Buy American goods and save the US economy. Buy anything not made in China and inflict a blow on the economy of China,” Laguatan added.
In special forums or in homes which have access to the Internet, participants in the August 21 Global Day of Prayer for Peace are asked to watch the following short informational videos: VIDEO 1 and VIDEO 2.