- A group of Filipino youth sailed to Panatag Shoal but were harassed by Chinese Coast Guard
- The Chinese ordered them to turn back, claiming the shoal is owned by China
- Two members of the group managed to swim to the inner lagoon in the Shoal and raised a Philippine flaglet
A group of Filipino youth belonging to Kalayaan ATIN ITO non-profit organization claimed they were harassed by Chinese Coast Guard when they sailed to Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) on Independence Day, June 12.
The youth group said they sailed to Panatag to plant a Philippine flag on Independence Day, but 5 Chinese ships intercepted their boat, ordering them to turn back while claiming the shoal was owned by China.
The group ignored the Chinese Coast Guard’s order and instead they started to fish for lunch.
“We offered food to them. We kept on raising the finger peace sign. We turned on the speaker which we brought with us and some of the volunteers danced to the music of Freddie Aguilar,” a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page said.
“Five of us attempted to swim to the rock to plant the Philippine flag and the UN flag but they harassed us,” the group’s coordinator Vera Joy Ban-eg said.
Two speed boats of the Chinese Coast Guard tried to block the swimmers. They circled on them and sprayed them with water using the propeller of the speed boats. The Chinese even tried to take away the dry bag that contains the Philippine and the UN flags, but did not succeed.
The Pinoy youth group said the harassment lasted for about an hour. Two of the five swimmers succeeded in reaching the inner lagoon of the Panatag Shoal where they raised a Philippine flaglet.
“Two of the swimmers however, were able to reach the ring of the shoal and raised a flaglet. WE MADE IT,” read the group’s Facebook post.