AFP: Youths on their own in Kalayaan
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The military decided to implement a hands-off policy over today’s visit by a group of youth volunteers to the Kalayaan Group of Islands, which is part of the area being claimed by China.

Some 10,000 members of the Kalayaan Atin Ito Movement, a group of students from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, were set to go to Kalayaan yesterday, but deferred the trip to today.

The group gathered in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan before proceeding to the islands.

“We have asked them to forego their plan, but if they won’t listen, there’s nothing we could do. They’re on their own,” Col. Restituto Padilla, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said.

Padilla said all they could do is to monitor the group’s movement by communicating with the Philippine Coast Guard.

He said there are other relevant activities the group could do to support the country’s claim on the disputed islands.

The group has criticized the military for not supporting them.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has expressed support for the group’s patriotic stand, but discouraged them from embarking on what is called “freedom voyage” as the sea is not safe for travel at this time of the year.

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BATANES DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN GROUP KALAYAAN KALAYAAN ATIN ITO MOVEMENT KALAYAAN GROUP OF ISLANDS PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD PUERTO PRINCESA CITY RESTITUTO PADILLA
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