TikTok star joins Scarborough civilian convoy

TikTok star ‘Queen Mathilda Airlines’ joins Scarborough civilian convoy

/ 11:21 PM May 14, 2024

TikTok star Vince Quinabandal —Mathilda Airlines Official Facebook page

BOTOLAN, ZAMBALES, Philippines — TikTok star “Queen Mathilda Airlines” will join the civilian convoy in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal in a development that is seen to bring the West Philippine Sea issue closer to the youth.

Known for spitting educational facts while doing pole-spinning stunts effortlessly, the viral sensation, whose real name is Vince Quinabandal, is also a member of progressive group Akbayan which is one of the organizations behind the mission.

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Quinabandal said she feels excited, but could not help but feel apprehensive in view of the reported surge in the presence of Chinese vessels there.

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Mixed emotions

“[We are feeling] mixed emotions,” Quinabandal told INQUIRER.net. “We are aware of the threats and the dangers we may face, but we are hopeful that the resupply mission will turn out well at the end of the day.”

“It’s valid to feel scared but we should not be a coward, as our national anthem says: ‘Sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil’,” she said.

The 23-year old is among the hundreds of volunteers, fishermen, and media personnel who will embark on the journey beginning early Wednesday morning at Masinloc town in this province.

The journey will be 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 civilian mission 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.

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“Our goal is to regularize [the resupply mission] and civilianize the situation in the West Philippine Sea,” she said.

Last year, a Christmas convoy led by the coalition sailed to bring supplies to Filipino troops stationed at Ayungin Shoal and other maritime features, but had to cut short the trip after they were shadowed by Chinese vessels.

Wielding clout

To date, Quinabandal has 1.2 million followers in TikTok—majority of which are 18-24 years old—and hundreds of thousands in other social media platforms.

She said she wants to use her platform to bring the West Philippine Sea issue to the fore, especially among the youth.

“It is very important [for the youth] to keep informed and be updated on social issues, especially when it has something to do with our national interest,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of the youth volunteers said this convoy is one of the good ways to show patriotism.

“We really really look forward to this mission and hopefully it will be a very successful one, and raise more awareness especially to a fellow youth like me,” said Matthew Christian Silverio, 21, of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines.

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“We want to show our wholehearted support and love for our country,” Silverio also said.

TAGS: Queen Mathilda Airlines, Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, TikTok, West Philippine Sea

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