By Mark D. Francisco
CAGAYAN de Oro City––A forum-cum-organizational movement pertaining to support for the Philippine government’s position on the West Philippine Sea issue, dubbed as “Kalayaan Atin Ito,” was held at the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan last Friday and attended by students from different learning institutions in Cagayan de Oro City.
But a day earlier last Thursday, more than a thousand Chinese Filipinos trooped to a huge mall indoor center here and witnessed a satellite feed of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) parade in Beijing marking the 66th National Day.
The indoor celebration, marked with a full lauriat banquet to the thousands in attendance and ethnic Chinese dancing presentations, was a stark contrast to the battlecry of the college students from different universities here who were denouncing the Chinese military’s presence at the West Philippine Sea.
“Kalayaan Atin Ito” movement is primarily designed to improve the participation of Filipino citizens in supporting the position of the Philippines in addressing the territorial disputes.
The Freedom Flame Caravan which started in Manila last May 15, had a pit stop in Cagayan de Oro a day later last Saturday. The Movement’s caravan will travel to all the 82 provinces of the country to explain the issues confronting the country with regards to the West Philippine Sea issue.
The student-movement has designed four stages for the purpose. These are the four stages are Freedom Flame Caravan, Freedom Voyage, Freedom Island and Freedom Fishermen.
The second stage is the Freedom Voyage. In this, so-called “volunteer patriots” will ride 82 fishing vessels, representing the 82 provinces of the country, from Palawan to Kalayaan Island Group between November 30 to December 30, 2015.
The third stage is called Freedom Island, at which point when “patriots” who arrive the Kalayaan Island Group will join residents of the Island Group and the soldiers assigned there to show the youths’ support to the world peacefully and without violating the Laws of the Seas of the United Nations Convention.
The last leg is called Freedom Fishermen. In this, all the 82 fishing bancas will be given to the fishermen and residents of Palawan who want to reside and fish at the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Johnny Lim, the convenor of the local celebration of the 66th Chinese National Day, refused to answer questions regarding the relevance of their activity.