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MANILA, Philippines – Over 40 volunteers composed mostly of youth and student leaders arrived in El Nido, Palawan, on Saturday, December 9, in line with the three-day Christmas convoy civilian supply mission to the West Philippine Sea that will begin on Saturday, December 10.
The volunteers, who also include fisherfolk representatives, among others, arrived in El Nido from Manila, aboard civilian vessel TS Kapitan Felix Oca that had been loaded with donations and supplies.
Akbayan said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the volunteers “touched base with more than a hundred fishers who will man 40 fishing boats that will join a civilian supply mission to the West Philippine Sea starting on December 10.”
Together with the local fishermen, the volunteers will board the 40-boat convoy “that will navigate the general vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, Patag, and Lawak islands from December 10 to 12 to deliver essential supplies to fisherfolk communities and frontliners in the area,” Akbayan said in a statement on Friday.
The initiative is spearheaded by ATIN ITO, a campaign network dedicated to advancing the cause of fisherfolk and frontliners in the West Philippine Sea through education and advocacy.
The 40 volunteers left Manila on Friday, December 8.
Akbayan president Rafaela David, a convenor of ATIN ITO, referred to the volunteers as “West Philippine ambassadors” who symbolize the “Filipino spirit of patriotism, solidarity, and unity in the face of overwhelming challenges,” Akbayan said in a statement on Friday.
“As we sail forth, let our collective commitment echo in the waves: the spirit of Christmas is not confined to festivities but resonates in our shared duty to improve the living and working conditions of our fisherfolks and frontliners in the West Philippine Sea,” David said.
“It embodies our nation’s resilience and our peaceful but determined defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our voyage is a testament to the enduring strength of Filipino unity, even in the face of foreign aggression and intrusion within our beloved West Philippine Sea,” she added. – Rappler.com