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‘Atin Ito’ sets sail for Bajo de Masinloc in ‘battle of narratives’ against China

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‘Atin Ito,’ the non-government organization advocating for sovereign rights, asserted on Wednesday that China has already lost the battle of narratives concerning its actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

This statement comes as the coalition officially starts its second civilian supply mission to Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Panatag/Scarborough Shoal, which is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

“China’s narrative has significantly faltered. It is running a very bad script,” said Rafaela David, president of Akbayan Party and co-convenor of the ‘Atin Ito’ coalition in response to reports that China planned to block their convoy.

Photo credit: Adia Lim/’Atin Ito’  

“When a superpower deploys a fleet of military vessels to act as a goalkeeper in a shoal it has no authority over, against a group of wooden fishing boats manned by Filipino civilians, it is unmistakably exposed as an aggressor, usurper, and illegal occupant,” David stated.

David pointed out that China’s recent actions in the WPS “reveal not strength, but a glaring weakness.” “When it resorts to intimidating small, civilian fishing vessels with military might, it showcases a narrative built on fear rather than legitimate authority,” she said.

“China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea reveal not strength, but a glaring weakness. When it resorts to intimidating small, civilian fishing vessels with military might, it showcases a narrative built on fear rather than legitimate authority,” she said further.

Photo credit: Adia Lim/’Atin Ito’  

Edicio Dela Torre of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) echoed these sentiments. He said the persistent aggression displayed by China in WPS only highlights its lack of legitimate claim.

“Our mission is a testament to the resilience and rightful assertion of our sovereignty by the Filipino people,” Dela Torre noted.  

“This civilian supply mission is not just about delivering supplies, it’s about reaffirming our presence and rights in our own waters. The world is watching, and the narrative of rightful ownership and peaceful assertion is clearly on our side,” he added.

Photo credit: Adia Lim/’Atin Ito’  

At least five commercial fishing vessels with around 200 volunteers and 100 smaller fishing boats joined the second supply mission of ‘Atin Ito’ this week. This is more than double the number that participated in its historic Christmas Convoy last December.

The mission aims to conduct a “peace and solidarity regatta” within the country’s EEZ off the coast of Masinloc and the general vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc, deploy symbolic “WPS buoys/markers,” and deliver supplies to fisherfolk in the area.

This second civilian supply mission by ‘Atin Ito’ is joined by the New Masinloc Fishermen’s Associations, the Subic Commercial Fishing Association Incorporated, the Mabayo Agri Aqua Association in Bataan, the Pambansang Katipunan ng Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), the Center for Agrarian Reform, Empowerment and Transformation (CARET), Akbayan Youth, and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP).

“West Philippine Sea! Atin Ito!,” say volunteer groups who joined the civilian supply mission to Bajo de Masinloc as they proudly wave their Philippine flags. (Video by Danny Pata)

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