Our group Kalayaan ATIN ITO with more than ten thousand Filipino youth volunteers is actively engaging our fellow Filipinos to participate in calling for the adherence of all claimant countries to the peaceful and legal resolution of the dispute at the Spratly Islands. Last December 2015, some of the volunteers conducted a peaceful patriotic voyage at the Pag-Asa Island, Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan calling all parties for the adherence to international law to peacefully and legally resolve the dispute.
Through this patriotic voyage, we were able to draw the attention of the international community to the pressing issue at the West Philippine Sea and the Filipino people realized the need to unite for this national fight. We saw with our own eyes that we have lost to China the heart of the Kalayaan Island Group Municipality through their triangle militarized zone from Fiery Cross Reef to Subi Reef and Mischief Reef. Inside this triangle, are the other military bases that China has built.
Today it became impossible for our Armed Forces to pass through this triangle as we have experienced when our Philippine Navy tried to tail us but passed through a route outside this triangle and this was admitted by the Armed Forces. Our fishermen too cannot fish in this fishing grounds. In fact, in the entire West Philippine Sea, we have lost its value as a fishing ground to China.
While at Pag-Asa island, the seat of our Kalayaan Municipality, everyday Chinese Coast Guard patrol ship with bow number 46708 patrolled the shores of our island even inside the 12 nautical miles’ territorial water. Also, almost every day, Chinese Coastguard helicopter patrolled the shores of the Pag-Asa island too close that we were able to record it on video through a low tech mobile phone. This acts blatantly violates our sovereignty and clearly disregarded international law that is supposed to rule the sea.
China is walking the talk when it declared that it will not heed to whatever will be the result of the ongoing arbitration and will continue to militarize the West Philippine Sea and do whatever they want because they claim that it belongs to them.
China is using the covert intent to control the 5trillon dollars trade that passes the South China Sea annually and the exploitation of minerals and natural gas deposits at Reed Bank and other areas at the West Philippine Sea to cover their real intention. These are just collateral gains.
Building a secured military storage for their weapons of mass destruction (WOMD) is the greater evil in the militarization of the West Philippine Sea. It will become impossible for any opposing military power to destroy these facilities once their weapons of mass destructions are stored in these facilities without destroying Palawan and other Luzon and Mindanao islands that are within the blast zone of any type of WOMD. Currently, Cuarteron Reef, another artificial island China has built inside our Extended Continental Shelf is now in its final phase in the installation of High Frequency Radar that will complete Chinese control of the entire South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.
Palawan is just 135 nautical miles away from Mischief Reef which is being developed by China as submarine harbor and at least 700 nautical miles away from China, way too far to be damaged by the blast of weapons of mass destructions from their militarized zone.
True enough, on February 18, 2016, the United States and Taiwan reported that China had deployed missiles to Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain and China confirmed that it has indeed weapons on the disputed island in the South China Sea. Next will be the deployment of China’s weapons of mass destruction at their artificial islands inside our EEZ at the Kalayaan Island Group Municipality.
The volunteers believe that until the whole world will agree to resolve the dispute legally and peacefully based on international law, there will be danger of arms confrontation between claimant countries which the world will not need.
Thus, the youth volunteers composed mostly of college students representing every province that came from State and private Colleges and Universities in the 81 provinces nationwide will conduct another peaceful patriotic voyage for the whole month of April 2016 at the Kalayaan Island Group.
The patriotic voyage is a “bayanihan” project wherein all citizens are expected to participate as this fight against the evil project of China does not concern only the Filipino people but the entire humanity including the peace loving Chinese people.
By bringing the volunteers to the heart of the problem at the West Philippine Sea, the volunteers will serve as credible messengers about this actual invasion by China and through forums and symposiums, we will be able to encourage and inspire the country to unite and take a stand as a nation to protect our sovereign rights. For only when we are united as a nation will we have the right to ask help from the international community.
At present, we are in the process of enlisting partners to help us raise the logistical requirements of the volunteers from the different provinces.
We launched the “Adopt a Volunteer” program wherein partners can directly sponsor the logistical requirements of the volunteers such as their transportation fare (the transportation fares may vary depending on the location and mode of transportation) from their respective provinces to the province of Palawan; food and water for 30 days (P3,000.00 which is computed at 100 per day) and the rent of the sea vessel (lancha) that will be chartered to bring the volunteers to the Kalayaan Island Group from mainland Palawan (P7,000 per volunteer). We also launched the “T-Shirt Para sa Kalayaan” wherein Kalayaan ATIN ITO (KAI) round neck t-shirts can be bought online at P370.00 each and KAI polo shirts at P600.00 each with free delivery. Another program is the “Piso para sa Kalayaan” wherein cash donations will be sent to the RCBC Savings Bank with account name WWW.PILIPINO.ORG.PH INC – 75900074610, Smart Money 5299-9412-9109 or Globe GCash 0917-312-8804.
We believe that not all of us have the material time to join the youth in Palawan but supporting us through financial assistance is equally important to accomplish this historical patriotic mission that we all want to be part.
Maraming salamat po at Mabuhay Kayo!
KALAYAAN ATIN ITO