Organizers of caravan in Scarborough to invite foreign observers

Organizers of civilian caravan in Scarborough to invite foreign observers

/ 11:55 PM March 14, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Organizers of the civilian-led West Philippine Sea supply mission will invite foreign observers to accompany them to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

Rafaela David, chief convenor of Atin Ito, said on Thursday that this move is a way for the international community to demonstrate its support for the Philippines’ fight for its sovereign rights in the western section of its exclusive economic zone.


“This time around, in our second civilian supply mission, we’re hoping to invite a delegation of international observers to show that the global community is behind us,” David said in an ambush interview after the Atin Ito’s photo exhibit in Intramuros district showcasing their first-ever supply mission.


“Hopefully, through this mission, we put a broader global spotlight on the issues there,” she also said.

The gift-giving mission, which the coalition plans to conduct in April, is expected to last for a day or two, according to David.

Details for this mission are still thin but she said the Atin Ito has already coordinated its plans with the government.

Previously, the Philippine Coast Guard said it was ready to extend assistance to the mission.

Meanwhile, David is calling for in-kind donations for the fishermen and military personnel deployed in the sandbank also known as Bajo de Masinloc.

Last year, the first-ever supply mission of Atin Ito proved to be a success as one of their resupply boats managed to get past Chinese vessels and reach their destination on Dec. 11, bringing gifts to civilians and non-military personnel at the West Philippine Sea’s nine maritime features.


READ: China fails to foil Filipinos’ gift-giving mission in West PH Sea

However, this feat was not without challenges as a China Coast Guard vessel tailed the caravan’s mothership, TS Kapitan Felix Oca, prompting its captain to return to a port in El Nido, Palawan, on Dec. 10. The convoy was supposed to go in the vicinity waters of Ayungin Shoal, where military outpost BRP Sierra Madre is aground.

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Beijing regularly attempts to thwart Manila’s maritime activities in Ayungin Shoal and Scarborough Shoal, with the China Coast Guard even resorting to the usage of water cannons and military-grade lasers against Filipino vessels.

China’s actions are based on its assertion of ownership in almost the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, despite a 2016 international tribunal ruling effectively dismissing its claims.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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