Will civilian convoy enter Scarborough red line?

Will civilian convoy enter Scarborough red line? Secret, says convenor

/ 05:49 PM May 14, 2024

It is still undetermined if the civilian convoy will attempt entering the so-called “red line”  or the 12 nautical miles territorial sea of Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.

SUCCESSFUL VOYAGE Philippine Coast Guard personnel, in this December 2023 file photo, collect food and other supplies carried by ML Chowee (background), the only boat which evaded Chinese ships that hounded a civilian-led mission to the West Philippine Sea. The provisions were intended for troops guarding Lawak (Nanshan) Island in the Spratlys. —AFP/ATIN ITO COALITION

BOTOLAN, Zambales — It is still undetermined if the civilian convoy will attempt entering the so-called “red line” or the 12 nautical miles territorial sea of Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.

Rafaela David, convenor of the Atin Ito coalition, made the answer when asked if the civilian fleet would enter the area where Philippine vessels were effectively barred from entering since China Coast Guard (CCG) seized control of the Panatag Shoal’s lagoon in 2012.


“It’s better to say that, our answer to that is ‘secret,’ because we could not divulge where our [exact] location will be,” David said in a send off coverage here.


READ: Tarriela slams China’s Scarborough pact claim: There’s no such thing

The second civilian supply mission of the Atin Ito coalition will begin on Wednesday morning at Masinloc town in Zambales, led by five indigenous vessels serving as the mother boat where volunteers and members of the media will also be aboard.

If left unimpeded, the journey is expected to last for 50 hours or until Saturday morning in a show of mettle that would culminate in the laying down of buoys to assert the country’s sovereign rights there.

Ray Powell, director of SeaLight, on Monday said  China is sending a “huge force” in Scarborough Shoal ahead of the civilian convoy there, but David said the coalition is undeterred by what she branded as Beijing’s “intimidation.”

READ: China sending huge force in Scarborough ahead of civilian mission — expert

‘Red lines’

The Philippines made gains in its attempt to regain control of the 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, which is well within the exclusive economic zone of the country anyway.


But last year, Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said the country was able to anchor 300 meters from Scarborough Shoal for the first time since 2012.

Tarriela also stressed that the Philippines does not recognize these so-called “red lines” in Scarborough Shoal.

“Those lines are not recognized by the Philippine government, and it does not actually exist,” Tarriela said in a statement on May 3.

“We have successfully proven that it is merely a product of their imagination. It is unnecessary for us to adhere to that line,” he added.

China asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including the WPS, through its now ten-dash line which used to be a nine dash line.

In 2013, the Philippines questioned China’s nine-dash line and a 2016 international tribunal ruling effectively dismissed Beijing’s sweeping demarcation while ruling heavily in favor of Manila.

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

Chinese media says civilian convoy US-backed

Meanwhile, a Chinese publication accused Atin Ito’s activities of being American-backed.

“Although it publicly claims to be an independent Philippine organization pursuing peace, the actions of the Atin Ito coalition are more akin to a ‘hired gun’ serving the US strategy in the South China Sea,” Chinese state-backed tabloid Global Times said in its report on Monday.

“In fact, its ability to coordinate resources within the Philippines, as well as its intricate relationships with pro-American figures in the US military and Filipino politics, all highlight that it is far from a simple Filipino civil organization,” the report further claimed.

David shrugged off such claims, which she branded as “desperate.”

“This is not just absurd, but also desperate, this attempt to malign the legitimate activities of normal citizens in our own exclusive economic zone,” David said in direct response to the report.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“Whatever their saying is only as true as their nine dash or ten dash line,” she added.

TAGS: China, convoy, Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.