ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Chiara Zambrano (center) with leading members of the New York tri-state Filipino community after the screening of her documentary “Spratlys: Mga Isla ng Kalayaan” at the Annex Hall of the New York Philippine Center on May 4, 2015.

The New York Philippine Center held a screening of the ABS-CBN documentary “Spratlys: Mga Isla ng Kalayaan” at the Annex Hall of the New York Philippine Center on May 4, 2015.

Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. led community members in an hour-long screening of the documentary, a Finalist in the 2015 New York Festival World’s Best Television and Films Competition.

In his welcoming remarks, de Leon expressed the significance and timely relevance of the documentary in enlightening Filipino community members of the West Philippine Sea issue and its impact on political and economic stability throughout the Asia-Pacific region, as well as on bilateral relations between the Philippines, China and the U.S.

He further noted the film’s value in educating members of the community, particularly the youth, on what security issues are at stake and how it would affect the citizens of both the Philippines and Filipino communities throughout the world.

ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Chiara Zambrano then introduced the documentary which she put together, describing how she personally traveled to the Spratly Islands to investigate the several issues concerning the region, such as the history behind the Philippine claim of sovereignty over the islands, what legal and diplomatic claims is the Philippine Government currently making over the Spratlys, and the reason why several Asian countries, including China and Vietnam claim the islands as their own.

The documentary also explored the economic and moral stakes for the Philippines’ claim of the Spratlys and delved into the geopolitical matters revolving around the inter-regional dispute of the islands.

The film further probed into the situation of Filipinos and local communities living on or within the immediate vicinity of the Spratlys and how their individual and family lives have been affected and intertwined with the territorial dispute.

A question-and-answer panel on the documentary with Ms. Zambrano was then held with community leaders, moderated by Consul Felipe Carino, director of the political/economic section.

The event was well attended by community leaders that included Atty. JT Mallonga, President, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and Atty. Merit Salud of the Filipino-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the US Pinoy for Good Governance (USPGG) represented by Mr. Joe Ramos, Ms. Angie Cruz and Mr. Ernie Gange, Dr. Lestrino Baquiran, Mr. Rene Ballenas and Mr. Bobby Ticzon.

Several community members called for the documentary to be screened at future UN-related events and at ventures involving younger-generation Filipinos who may be unaware of the global, as well as humanitarian implications of the West Philippine Sea issue.


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