A group of Filipino artists and surfers raised the Philippines flag in the disputed South China Sea to celebrate Independence Day on 12 June. These people are members of Dakila and they travelled to Greenspace Liwa beach in Zambales to hold the flag raising ceremony.
One of the event organizers, Micheline Rama, was quoted by the Philippines Inquirer saying, "We want to explore the concept of freedom in the context of the Philippines' situation today." The group leader further said that Philippines freedom is rooted on her sovereignty and Filipinos will remain brave and patriotic despite security threat.
Prior to celebration, the group also organizsed a two-day camp dubbed "Kamp Kalayaan (English Translation: Freedom Camp) where they publicly displayed a mural painting called "Kulay Kalayaan (English Translation: Color of Freedom).
During the camp, the group also held discussions on freedom and human rights involving the South China Sea dispute. The mural painting measures a 1,260 square foot that displayed graphics interpreting Filipino freedom.
Rama further said that their event is to express their freedom such as freedom from conflicts, poverty and threats to human rights. Other professional artists-related organisations who took part in the event were Rise and Excel and Active Vista.
The Chinese government was reported to have been harassing Filipino fishermen fishing in the South China Sea within the 200 exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. An international court already ruled that the Philippines has ownership rights over portions of the South China Sea.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticised by his detractors for not asserting ownership of some portions of the South China Sea. However, the camp of Duterte claimed that the Philippines is not ready to wage war against China.