Filipino event scrapped in Singapore after drawing abuse | Global News

Filipino event scrapped in Singapore after drawing abuse

/ 04:13 PM May 27, 2014


SINGAPORE — A Philippine independence day celebration in Singapore has been cancelled, organizers said Tuesday, after plans for a public event generated online abuse and threats against Filipinos in the city-state.

“In view of all considerations in the search for equivalent suitable venues, the PIDC 2014 deemed it is best to cancel the event,” the Pilipino Independence Day Council (PIDC) said in a statement sent to AFP.


The PIDC had initially announced a June 8 event outside a shopping complex along the Orchard Road shopping belt. It invited Singaporeans to join them in commemorating the 116th anniversary of the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spain.


But police suggested alternative venues, citing “public order and safety concerns” following threats by an anti-immigration activist to hold a protest at the venue.

The PIDC said other venues would not be able to cater to the expected large crowd and would not be as accessible to public transport.

Online commentators, mostly on anonymously-run local websites and Facebook pages, have heaped racial abuse on Filipinos particularly the PIDC over the planned event, saying the choice of a city center venue was an example of foreigners overstepping their welcome.

Others called on the organizers to hold the event within the Philippine embassy grounds, while a few commentators threatened physical harm to participants if the event was held on Orchard Road.

Gilbert Goh, an employment counsellor critical of the government’s immigration policy, had earlier threatened to hold a protest on Orchard Road on the same day as the Filipino event.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in April condemned the campaign against the Filipino event as “thuggish behavior” and called the anonymous “trolls” a “disgrace to Singapore”.


In its statement the PIDC said it was satisfied with other events it had held this year, including a cultural sharing session at a primary school, a blood donation drive and a visit to a home for the elderly.

It said the events were “in line with this year’s theme of inclusiveness and reaching out to the local community as our way of expressing friendship and partnership between the Philippines and Singapore”.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in some segments of Singapore’s local population, with many complaining that foreigners compete with them for jobs, housing, medical care as well as space on public transport.

This is despite a per capita income of $55,183, one of the highest in the world, and an unemployment rate of just over two percent.

Singaporeans make up just over 60 percent of the 5.4 million population, with its low fertility rate forcing the government to rely heavily on guest workers.

The Filipino community is estimated at more than 170,000, many of them professionals seen by some Singaporeans as rivals for jobs, compared to the past when most Filipinos worked as domestics.

Originally posted: 3:44 pm | Monday, May 26th, 2014


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TAGS: abuse, Foreign affairs, Global Nation, Immigration, Independence Day, International relations, Labor, ofws, Philippines, Singapore

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