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Legislator denounces role of Fil-Am businesswoman in West PH Sea dispute

24 July 2013 No Comment
24 July 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

A legislator has denounced the role played by prominent Filipino-American businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis in the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea.

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio issued the statement as the July 24 “global protest” of Filipinos and Filipino expatriates kicked off to denounce Chinese claims on Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. Protest actions will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York City and Chinese diplomatic missions in Manila and other cities in the US and Europe.

The solon raised some critical questions regarding the protest. “Waving the Filipino flag doesn’t automatically mean one is upholding the interests of the Filipino people. We should ask: who’s behind this and what’s their agenda?”

Tinio noted that the so-called “global day of protest” is organized by a group called US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), chaired by Lewis.

“Who is Loida Nicolas Lewis? She is an American citizen who emigrated from the Philippines to become a successful businesswoman and philanthropist in the US. She is one of the most prominent members of the Democratic Party from the Filipino-American community in the United States. She was a major contributor to and campaigner for the presidential bid of Pres. Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. She is also the sister of Imelda Nicolas, who served in various capacities in the Cabinet of Pres. Benigno Aquino, and is currently the chair of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas,” said Tinio.

“She is described as being on a ‘first-name basis’ with the Presidents of both countries, given her connections and access to the inner circles of the White House and Malacañang,” added Tinio.

“Now, what’s the agenda of Lewis and her group, the US Pinoys for Good Governance, as they mobilize these protests against the incursions of China? One thing’s for sure, given her close association with the Obama administration, we will never hear Lewis and her group denounce the historic, long-running, and continuing violation of sovereignty perpetrated by the United States on the Philippines, nor the White House plan to dramatically increase US military presence in our country,” said Tinio.

“To call a spade a spade, Loida Nicolas Lewis is an agent of US foreign policy, hijacking Filipino nationalism in an attempt to mobilize so-called civil society, both here and abroad, in support of US military ‘rebalancing’ towards the Asia-Pacific.”

The party-list representative pointed out that this is not the first time Lewis has intervened in the territorial disputes. In 2011, Lewis bankrolled the visit to Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly Islands, via private plane, of four House Representatives closely identified with the Aquino administration, led by Akbayan Representative Walden Bello. “We are alarmed and appalled that a foreign national like Lewis, closely identified with the ruling clique in Washington, enjoys such a level of influence on those who shape the foreign policy of our country.”

Tinio explained that a genuinely independent approach to the West Philippine Sea dispute entails the pursuit of peaceful, diplomatic options to assert our sovereign claims over China while at the same time denouncing and opposing US military expansionism in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific.

“The national interests of the Philippines and the United States in the West Philippine Sea are not the same. The Filipino people want peaceful relations with our neighbors. The United States wants war, or the constant threat of war, in order to justify its massive military build-up in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific. I invite well-meaning Filipinos and Filipino expatriates who wish to take a stand against Chinese incursions to reject any effort to manipulate your patriotic sentiments to serve US interests,” concluded Tinio. #

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