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Atin Ito: Mission accomplished

MANILA, Philippines — “Diskarteng Pinoy” – the Filipino way – made the day for the Atin Ito Coalition’s “peace and solidarity regatta” as it managed to elude a Chinese blockade of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal to accomplish its mission of delivering 1,000 liters of fuel and 200 food packs to Filipino fishermen in the area.

“This stands as a testament to the ingenuity, resourcefulness and bravery of the Filipino spirit amid formidable challenges. China may possess larger and more vessels, and wield strong water cannons, but we possess a secret weapon: our ‘diskarteng Pinoy,’ which, when coupled with determination and love for fellow citizens and country, can surmount even the most daunting adversity,” Atin Ito co-convenor and Akbayan president Rafaela David said.

Organizers said it was an advance team aboard the MV Franz Gavin, which completed the trip to Panatag – unmolested by the Chinese – after it left Subic Fishport a day ahead of the main convoy’s departure from Masinloc, Zambales on Wednesday.

“Despite China’s massive blockade, we managed to breach their illegal blockade, reaching the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc to support our fishers with essential supplies,” David said. “Mission accomplished.”

Atin Ito mission spokesman
Emman Hizon told The STAR the advance contingent managed to reach its destination – also called Bajo de Masinloc – and deliver supplies despite being shadowed by a China People’s Liberation Army Navy warship with bow number 175.

With the advance team’s having managed already to accomplish the main task of handing over food and fuel to fishermen, the main convoy of four civilian vessels escorted by at least three Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) boats – amid radio challenge from the Chinese – decided to cut short its trip some 50 nautical miles from Panatag Shoal and 10 nautical miles from the blockade set up by the China Coast Guard, according to Hizon.

But the main convoy, he said, was able to distribute fuel and supplies to fishermen and lay buoys and markers on its way back to Subic Fishport. The group is expected to arrive at midnight tonight.

“Atin Ito’s advance team has already reached the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc and distributed