Tolentino warns disruptors: Do not spoil our WPS Christmas convoy | Global News

Tolentino warns disruptors: Do not spoil our WPS Christmas convoy

/ 08:37 AM December 07, 2023

The Philippine Coast Guard expects more Chinese vessels in Ayungin when Filipino advocates hold the Christmas convoy.

NOT THIS RESUPPLY MISSION Motorists on Tuesday pass by a billboard on Edsa announcing “A Christmas Convoy to BRP Sierra Madre.” The government warns against this civic initiative by the “Atin Ito” coalition to bring relief goods to the grounded vessel and military outpost at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — “Do not spoil our Christmas convoy.”

Senator Francis Tolentino sternly warned any party intending to block civilian ships participating in the so-called Christmas convoy in the West Philippine Sea.


Tolentino, the chairperson of the Senate’s special committee on maritime and admiralty zones, said 40 boats would be sailing towards the BRP Sierra Madre beginning December 10.


The sole purpose of this trip is to bring gifts, not rearmament, to Filipino troops stationed in the grounded ship — all in the spirit of Christmas and not for the purpose of war.

“They are bringing noche buena ham, not war bombs,” the senator stressed in his privilege speech delivered during Wednesday’s plenary session.

“To those whose textbook response is to block [and] harass ships from reaching the BRP Sierra Madre, let me tick off some items in the boat’s manifest: fruit cocktails, books, fresh vegetables, and new clothes. Now let me ask, how can this be considered as little cargo? How can a can of corned beef be classified as a dangerous ordnance?” he added.

Tolentino likewise noted that it would be “heartless” for any party that preaches about amity and goodwill to block what he called a “peaceful convoy.”

“Any party that will do what will be seen and universally condemned as playing Scrooge this Christmas will be characterized as such. It should have been learned by now that they cannot escape worldwide censure by playing the victim card when their ships are bigger, tactics brazen, and employ bully maneuvers,” he pointed out.

Tolentino earlier admitted that he feared what China could do during this convoy.


“Baka may gawin na silang iba. Kasi nagawa na nila lahat. Yung laser beam, cannoning —  maliit na sibilyan na ito eh. Wag naman dapat nilang gawin yun,” Tolentino told reporters then.

(They might do something else. Because they have already done the laser beam, cannoning — these are civilians with small boats. They shouldn’t do that.)


Tolentino meets with PH envoy to China, DFA chief Manalo on WPS issues

PCG sees more Chinese vessels in Ayungin during ‘Atin Ito’ advocates convoy

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TAGS: China, Christmas convoy, West Philippine Sea

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