Navy ship deployed to escort volunteers in ‘Freedom Voyage’
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - January 2, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A Navy ship was deployed to escort the student volunteer group “Kalayaan Atin Ito” from Pag-asa Island to Palawan.

Led by former Marine captain Nicanor Faeldon, the 46 student volunteers were initially offered by the military a Navy boat to take them to Puerto Princesa City.

The group, however, declined and left the island town before noon Friday on a small single-engine motor launch that took them to Pag-asa Island last Dec. 26.

“We offered them our Navy ship to bring them back to Puerto Princesa City but they declined as they all opted to sail on their rented small boat,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.

Padilla said the Philippine Navy ship that was sent to pick up the group was ordered to just escort the boat to ensure their safety.

The group earlier pitched camp on Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys in a symbolic stand against China’s claim to most of the region.

They went against government warnings not to proceed to the islands because of the rough seas and inclement weather, aside from the security situation in the region.

Members of the group had previously accused the government of not doing enough to stand up to China.

China demanded their immediate pull out from Pag-asa Island, including the civilian islanders and the soldiers stationed in the area, pointing out that the place is an integral part of its maritime domain.

Taiwan, one of the six claimants in the region, also declared its opposition to the “Freedom Voyage” made by the group to Pag-asa.

Taiwan said the activity is illegal that impairs peace and stability in the region as it infringed on its sovereignty. It also vowed it will take all necessary measures to protect its legitimate and lawful rights in the South China Sea.

However, the AFP maintained the presence of the student volunteers in Pag-asa is legitimate since the island is part of Philippine territory.

A NAVY ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES FREEDOM VOYAGE KALAYAAN ATIN ITO NICANOR FAELDON PAG PHILIPPINE NAVY PUERTO PRINCESA CITY RESTITUTO PADILLA SOUTH CHINA SEA
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with