The Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA-Michigan) held last Sunday, August 21, 2011, a prayer-meeting for the peaceful resolution of the crisis over the Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Willie Dechavez, NaFFAA-Michigan chairperson, said that the prayer meeting held shortly before noon at the Filipinas Oriental Store in Warren was one of some 80 such gatherings conducted all over the US. He said the US Pinoys 4 Good Government headed by
Attorney Loida Nicolas Lewis called for the conduct of the prayer meetings.
Before the prayers were said, NaFFAA-Michigan Vice Chairperson Sofy Bole briefed the participants on the tense situation in the Spratlys. She noted news reports on the alleged bullying tactics employed by China to harass other countries that have staked claims on the islands which are said to be rich in oil and gas deposits.
She likewise noted fears that the crisis may explode into a shooting war as the other countries – including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia –with stakes on the islands have expressed determination to protect what they believe parts of their territory.
Afterwards, the participants prayed for the peaceful resolution of the conflict. The saying of the prayers was led by Billie Belen, president of the Kapulongan ng mga Katolikong Pilipino sa Michigan (KKPM).
Several of the participants also said their individual prayers. They included Amy Risvold, Justino Padiernos Jr., Norma Padiernos, Philip Bugg, Lisa Bugg, Nieve McRoberts-Lucasik and Fe San Agustin.
Also present were NaFFAA National Chairman Ed Navarra, Philippine Nurses Association of Michigan President Emma de leon-Pacris, Marta Cabarios, Flor Penner, Bernie Dueller, Teresa Dueller, Lita Guadez and Audie Belen.