West PH Sea Christmas convoy planners eye 'summer mission'

West PH Sea Christmas convoy planners eye 2024 ‘summer mission’

/ 01:19 PM December 12, 2023

Christmas convoy planners eye 2024 summer mission at West PH Sea

China Coast Guard 5305 (left) shadow M/V Kapitan Felix Oca, the civilian mothership of a convoy at the West Philippine Sea, on Sunday, December 10, 2023. Ryan Leagogo/INQUIRER.net

PALAWAN, Philippines — Organizers of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Christmas convoy were planning to do another mission next year.

Rafaela David, head of the pro-WPS coalition Atin Ito, said they would come up with more creative ways as they took note of what they learned from their experience with the China Coast Guard (CCG) over the weekend.


“We will push through with our summer mission,” he said in an interview with INQUIRER.net on Monday evening on the sidelines of an event here in El Nido town.


“Even if it’s not Christmas, we can still send gifts, although we will think of more creative ways to provide the needs of our front liners,” she also said.

David said they will apply all lessons from their first-ever Christmas convoy in the WPS.

“We will study all of the things we could improve. This is [an] inaugural civilian mission, this is the first time [and] that includes birthing pains,” she pointed out.

“Also, we saw the tactics of China, we will make sure next time that we are prepared against their maneuvers,” she added.

The mothership MV Kapitan Felix Oca left Manila on Friday, December 8, and arrived at San Fernando port in El Nido town the following morning.


READ: First batch of Christmas convoy sets sail to West Philippine Sea

Philippine Coast Guard’s BRP Melchora Aquino, where a number of local and foreign journalists including INQUIRER.net were aboard, escorted MV Kapitan Felix Oca during the mission.

At around midnight Sunday, the civilian vessel, along with BRP Melchora Aquino, departed from El Nido and proceeded to the vicinity of Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal where the World War II-era BRP Sierra Madre is currently grounded.

The trip from El Nido to Ayungin Shoal was expected to take 32 hours, but the captain of MV Kapitan Felix Oca decided to turn back after nearly 15 hours at sea because the vessel was being shadowed by a CCG ship.

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READ: Civilian ship, chased by China vessel, returns to Palawan

Another Philippine boat in the convoy, MV Chowee, which went ahead, were able to enter Lawak Island, where supplies were dropped off.  The supplies will then be transferred to BRP Sierra Madre for the troops on board.

TAGS: Christmas convoy, West Philippine Sea

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