Filipino Group Reaffirms Commitment to Fight for Preserving Philippine Territory
SAIPAN—The National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) celebrated its 3rd anniversary and reaffirmed their commitment to fighting for the preservation of Philippine sovereignty in the controversial territory.
“We realized that our struggle is real - at times, daunting - but we will not falter,” says Dr. Celia Lamkin, NYMWPS founder and global chairperson. “We know that our advocacy is a Herculean task but the people we are fighting this for is more than the inspiration we need to get going and not easily give up,” she added.
Volunteerism and advocacies
The global movement which prides itself of volunteer-members across the globe has been actively campaigning in social media for the preservation of the Philippine territory after the UN tribunal in July 2016 rejected Beijing’s historic claims to most of the South China Sea, acting on the case brought by former President Benigno Aquino III.
On the side, the group has been lending support to the fishermen in the areas where livelihood and ways of life have been severely affected by the territorial bullying of the Chinese aggressors. Fishermen – mostly small-scale fishers, are still not allowed to fish in the seas of West Philippine Sea while big Chinese fishing boats are spotted to be getting the bigger share of the rich marine resources. “In our own little way, we have managed to alleviate the hardships of our fishermen by conducting medical missions and giving support to livelihood,” shared Dr. Lamkin.
Finding allies to help advance the cause
With the reported militarization by China of the area, NYMWPS on September 5, 2017 had an audience with Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and presented the group’s collective concern in regards to territorial sovereignty.
In that meeting, Lorenzana shared the development plan for Pag-asa Island in Palawan – a plan largely welcomed by the group. Pag-asa, the second largest naturally occurring island in the Spratlys archipelago, is the sole village of Kalayaan town in Palawan. It is also claimed by China but is under Philippine control and is home to some 340 people.
“This is what NYMWPS expects the government to do – cement the Philippines’ national sovereignty and jurisdiction in the areas which are rightfully ours,” according to Dr. Lamkin, speaking on behalf of the group.
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