100 civilian fishing boats to join Scarborough Shoal convoy

100 civilian fishing boats to join Scarborough Shoal convoy

/ 01:25 PM April 25, 2024

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he will not impose a deadline on the talks with China about fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea. 


A total of 100 civilian fishing boats will join the Scarborough Shoal convoy on May 15, culminating in the installation of assertive buoys amid mounting tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Setting sail from the shores of Zambales, two mother boats will lead this civilian mission, which is also aiming to invite foreign observers and bring essential supplies for the fishermen operating inside the western section of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).


“The primary objectives of the mission are to conduct a ‘peace and solidarity regatta’ within our EEZ, during which symbolic markers/buoys emblazoned with the rallying cry ‘WPS, Atin Ito!’ (WPS is ours!) will be placed to reinforce our country’s territorial integrity,” said Atin Ito coalition co-convenor Rafaela David in a statement on Thursday.


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

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal’s lagoon in 2012 after China Coast Guard’s (CCG) standoff with Philippine vessels. Two CCG ships have been permanently deployed inside the lagoon since then.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

This landmark decision also covered Scarborough Shoal, which was declared a traditional fishing ground that should be shared by the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

READ: Organizers of civilian caravan in Scarborough to invite foreign observers

Despite this, Filipino fisherfolk and government civilian vessels regularly experience harassment from the CCG.


David noted that their initiative aims to resist China’s harassment through peaceful means.

“Amid the evolving geopolitical dynamics, citizens must navigate an independent but collaborative path that harnesses the bayanihan spirit of our communities and asserts the rights of our people, especially our fisherfolk. Active citizenship is a superpower in itself,” David said.

“By mobilizing civilians and engaging in peaceful activities within our EEZ, we reclaim our space and assert our territorial integrity in a manner that champions peace and diplomacy,” she added.

Last year, the Atin Ito successfully conducted its first-ever civilian mission as one of its 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.

However, this feat was not without challenges as a CCG 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.

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The convoy was supposed to go to the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, where military outpost BRP Sierra Madre is aground. The resupply mission in the said Navy outpost became a flashpoint of tension between Manila and Beijing.

TAGS: Atin Ito, Scarborough Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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