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Atin Ito’s advance team breaches China’s Scarborough blockade, delivers supplies to fishers

MANILA, Philippines — An advance team deployed by the “Atin Ito” coalition ahead of its official civilian supply mission bypassed China’s blockade at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and delivered supplies to Filipino fishers in the area, the mission’s organizers said on Thursday.

“Despite China's massive blockade, we managed to breach their illegal blockade, reaching Bajo de Masinloc to support our fishers with essential supplies. Mission accomplished!” said Rafaela David, president of Akbayan Party and co-convenor of Atin Ito. 

Atin Ito said a ten-member advance team, comprised of members from Akbayan Party, Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), sailed toward Panatag Shoal on Tuesday morning, a day before the start of the official civilian-led supply mission. 

The advance team arrived within 25 to 30 nautical miles of Panatag Shoal on Wednesday.

The organizers said they “swiftly” delivered essential provisions, including 1,000 liters of diesel fuel and 200 food packs, to 144 Filipino fishers in the area despite being shadowed by a Chinese Navy ship with hull number 175. 

“This stands as a testament to the ingenuity, resourcefulness and bravery of the Filipino spirit amidst formidable challenges,” David said.

“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,” she added.

The group said two China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels shadowed and tried to block the official civilian-led convoy sailing toward Panatag, a reef held by China since 2012. 

BRP Bagacay, a patrol boat of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), escorts the civilian convoy.

On Wednesday, the convoy handed out supplies to Filipino fishers along the way to Panatag Shoal and dropped buoys marked “WPS is Ours.”

Situated 240 kilometers west of Luzon, Panatag Shoal has long been a fishing ground utilized by generations of Filipino fishers.

The shoal lies nearly 900 km from the nearest major Chinese