AtinAtin Ito to launch Adopt a Payao for WPS fishermen Ito Cialition said today it will launch an “Adopt-a-Payao” campaign, to provide much-needed assistance to the local fishing communities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), particularly those coming from Subic and Masinloc in the province of Zambales as well as Bataan province.

The group said deploying additional payaos or fish aggregating devices in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)will help sustain their livelihoods amidst China’s continuing illegal presence and acts of harassment and violence in the area.

Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) President and Atin Ito co-convenor Edicio Dela Torre said that the continuous encroachment of China in WPS has significantly affected the livelihoods of Filipino fishers, hindering their ability to fish freely in their own waters.

Despite these challenges, Dela Torre said Filipino fishermen “have shown remarkable resilience and bravery, steadfastly defending our sovereign rights in the face of adversity.”

“These fishers have fought bravely for our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. Now, it is our turn to stand by them and provide the support they urgently need,” he said.

Akbayan President and also an Atin Ito co-convenor, said the “Adopt-a-Payao” campaign seeks to “empower Filipino fishing communities and stand in solidarity with them against foreign aggression in the West Philippine Sea.”

“Each payao deployed is not just a means of supporting our fishers but also an act of patriotism, a symbol of solidarity for our fellow Filipinos, and a firm stance against China’s unlawful actions in the West Philippine Sea,” David said.

She likewise called on the business community, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), professionals, and other sectors to join hands in supporting Filipino fishers by sponsoring the manufacture and deployment of more payaos.

“By contributing to this initiative, individuals and organizations can directly impact the lives of fishing communities, enabling them to continue their essential work despite the challenges they face,” David said.

“We urge all sectors of society to unite behind this noble cause,” said David. “Together, let us show our unwavering support for our fishers and assert our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” she added.

The Adopt a Payao also comes in reaction to the latest regulation imposed by China authorizing its coast guard to arrest and detain would be “intruders” in WPS, a ruling it annoinced after Atin Ito successfully conducted peace and solidarity regatta and a resupply mission to fishermen near Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc) last May 14-17. Atin Ito deplored China’s regulation calling it a desperate move in its losing cause in WPS.