Bishop backs ‘Christmas convoy’ to Ayungin shoal

December 7, 2023 - 3:37 PM
An aerial view shows the BRP Sierra Madre on the contested Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin, in the South China Sea, March 9, 2023 (File Photo via Reuters)

A Catholic bishop in the northern Palawan diocese of Taytay has thrown his support to a civilian-led Christmas caravan in the West Philippine Sea.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo described the three-day initiative starting on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, as “laudable”.

“It is a peaceful way to support our military officers and our fisherfolks as they defend our territorial waters,” Pabillo said.

“The convoy will bring gifts and good cheers to them as a way of showing support for them. It is a peaceful activity within our own territorial waters,” he said.

The National Security Council (NSC) earlier authorized the caravan being organized by the Atin Ito Coalition, allowing them to pass through the general vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.

The agency, however, did not allow the convoy of at least 40 boats to reach the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusty old navy ship that serves as the nation’s military outpost.

The bishop thanked all the people who supported the initiative “by sending them their gifts”.

“May this activity bring good cheers to all,” Pabillo said.