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Gift-bearing boat reaches Lawak Island — Christmas convoy organizer

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Gift-bearing boat reaches Lawak Island � Christmas convoy organizer

MANILA, Philippines — A smaller supply boat managed to deliver provisions to troops and fishers on Lawak Island in the West Philippine Sea early Monday morning, according to the organizers of the civilian-led convoy. 

Atin Ito Coalition said that ML Chowee, one of its supply boats, “slipped past Chinese marine vessels” and arrived on the Philippine-occupied Lawak Island at 5 a.m., hours after it announced that it would abort its trip to the West Philippine Sea.

Lawak Island is part of the Spratlys Island. 

The coalition said: “Nakalusot!” (We got through!)

“Hinaharass! Tinatakot! Pero hindi palulupig!” it added.

(Harassed! Intimidated! But will not be defeated!)” 

The “Christmas convoy” planning to deliver provisions and gifts to fishermen and troops in the West Philippine Sea left El Nido before dawn Sunday. 

But Atin Ito Coalition said hours later that it was “erring on the side of caution” and had decided to return to Palawan after its main vessel, TS Kapitan Oca, was being “constantly shadowed” by Chinese vessels, including two Chinese Navy ships. 

It had already changed course after a confrontation between Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal and Chinese ships. 

Manila and Beijing traded accusations over the collisions of their vessels.

The Philippine Coast Guard accused the China Coast Guard of firing water cannons and ramming its patrol boat and supply vessels during a resupply mission to troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre. However, China claimed that a Philippine vessel deliberately collided with its ship.

The objective of the civilian-led convoy was to highlight living and working conditions of Filipino fishermen and troops, as well as to defend the maritime territorial rights of the country, according to Atin Ito Coalition.

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CHINA

SOUTH CHINA SEA

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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