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Freedom voyagers leave Kalayaan

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - After bringing their peaceful protest against China’s continuing aggression in the Spratlys archipelago, student volunteers of the Kalayaan Atin Ito (KAI) are set to leave Pag-asa Island today.

KAI co-convenor Vera Joy Ban-eg yesterday said the 46 student-volunteers, along with former Marine captain Nicanor Faeldon, have packed their things for their scheduled voyage back to mainland Palawan.

“Today (yesterday) they’re already preparing for their voyage back to the mainland. As of this time they’re now preparing to leave,” Ban-eg said.

Ban-eg led the group of volunteers who stayed behind in Puerto Princesa City and acted as a support group to KAI’s Freedom Voyage to Kalayaan Island.

KAI launched the Freedom Voyage and pitched camp in Pag-asa in a symbolic stand against China’s claim to most of the region.

The government earlier opposed the voyage to Pag-asa island for security reasons.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they understood the group’s intentions in showing support for the country’s claim over the islands.

Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. said the scheduled departure might be hampered by prevailing sea conditions.

He said the sea was very rough yesterday and it would be highly dangerous for the volunteers to sail on a very small motor launch, which they used to sail from Buliluyan Point in Balabac to Pag-asa Island last Dec. 24.

Bito-onon suggested that it would be best for the student-volunteers to wait for calmer sea before embarking on their return voyage.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, said it is closely monitoring the activities of the student-volunteers and is ready to render military assistance to the homeward-bound group.

AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said the military will always be around to provide them assistance when the need arises.

 

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BULILUYAN POINT FREEDOM VOYAGE KALAYAAN ATIN ITO KALAYAAN ISLAND KALAYAAN MAYOR EUGENIO BITO NICANOR FAELDON PAG PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. PUERTO PRINCESA CITY
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