The first batch of volunteers from Manila, comprised of youth volunteers, student leaders, and fisherfolk from the community, who will join the Christmas Convoy Supply Mission to the West Philippine Sea, has departed from Manila and is now on their way to El Nido, bringing with them the provisions that will be distributed to Filipino troops stationed on different island features of Kalayaan town.
They embarked on the M/V Kapitan Felix Oca, a civilian vessel with a capacity for 150 people, which will act as the lead ship. Joining them will be over 100 volunteers, forming a convoy of 40 boats, setting sail from December 10-12.
Their route will take them through the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, where the BRP Sierra Madre is anchored, before proceeding to Lawak and Patag islands to distribute Christmas gifts to the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard stationed on the islands, and the fisherfolk community on Pag-asa Island.
This initiative is spearheaded by Atin Ito, a campaign network dedicated to advancing the cause of fisherfolk and frontliners in WPS through education and advocacy.
The coalition is composed of Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Center for Agrarian Reform for Empowerment and Transformation (CARET), Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), Team Manila Lifestyle, Akbayan Youth, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) and Akbayan Partylist.
Akbayan Party President Rafaela David expressed pride in their volunteers, referring to them as “West Philippine ambassadors” symbolizing the Filipino spirit of patriotism, solidarity, and unity in the face of overwhelming challenges.
“This marks the commencement of a meaningful journey to support fisherfolk communities and frontliners in the West Philippine Sea. 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.