MANILA—A Filipino youth group has arrived yesterday in the Kalayaan Island in Palawan. Fifty members of Kalayaan Atin Ito are camping on the disputed archipelago in protest of China’s “invasion” of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the group said.
“We encourage the highest leadership of the country to inform the people correctly without sugar coating the truth about Chinese invasion of our Exclusive Economic Zone,” said the youth group who was once barred by a military official from travelling to Kalayaan Island.
Meanwhile, the government supported the actions of the youth group and recognized their activity in the Kalayaan Island as an exhibition of “patriotism”.
“We recognize the patriotism of these youths that made them venture out,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma was quoted as saying in a Rappler report.
“Patuloy ang pag-asa at panalangin nating maging ligtas ang kanilang paglalakbay. Susubaybayan pa rin ang kanilang pagkilos at bibigyan ng angkop na tulong kung kakailanganin (We are continuously hoping and praying for their safe journey. We are still monitoring their activities and will give necessary assistance when needed),” Coloma told dzRB radio.
Joy Ban-eg, the youth group’s coordinator told the Agence France-Presse that the Chinese government did not try to prevent them from travelling to the Kalayaan Island.
She said that they would consult the residents of the island and the government forces stationed there.
The Philippines has recently presented its case against China’s claim on the disputed West Philippine Sea which covers the Kalayaan Island before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. China has refused to recognize the proceedings.
The Tribunal will decide on the case in 2016.