Philippines rebuked China over ‘harassment’ at Ayungin Shoal

Philippines rebuked China over ‘harassment’ at Ayungin Shoal

ON March 22, 2024, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) prepared the Unaizah May 4 (UM4), a civilian vessel tasked with delivering supplies to troops stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

In connection with this, the Area Task Force West allocated two ships from the Philippine Navy and two ships from the Philippine Coast Guard to serve as escorts for UM4 during the rotation and resupply (RoRe) operation at Ayungin Shoal.

However, as expected, tensions between the Philippines and the Chinese Coast Guard escalated once again.

On March 23, 2024, at 6:08 AM local time on Saturday, it can be seen in video footage that the Chinese Coast Guard blocked the Unaizah May 4 at 7:09 AM, the Unaizah attempted to evade the Chinese Coast Guard ship.

At 7:59 AM, the Chinese Coast Guard started bombarding the Unaizah with water cannons and did not cease their actions.

Several Chinese militia vessels were also spotted in the area, making it difficult for Filipinos to unload supplies.

To ensure the success of the operation, the supplies were transferred to smaller boats, and by 11:59 on the same day, the supplies were delivered to the BRP Sierra Madre.

According to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, the harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard caused significant damage to the Unaizah May 4 and resulted in injuries to some personnel.

“China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels once again harassed, blocked, deployed water cannons, and executed dangerous maneuvers against the routine RoRe mission that led to significant damage to the supply vessel and caused injury to personnel,” according to National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.

In connection with this, the Philippines once again affirmed that it will not surrender its sovereignty.

“Based on the orders of our president, we will not give up our sovereignty to the extent of our capabilities,” Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Department of National Defense stated.

In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday, Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. stated that China’s aggressive actions are unfounded because their historical claims are not credible.

“The whole world knows that China’s occupation of the West Philippine Sea based on their unbelievable historical narrative is illegal. No country in the world believes in it, and many criticize it. So, in essence, even they themselves find it hard to believe, but that’s the only thing they can use, even though it’s unbelievable, to continue their illegal activities,” Teodoro said.

DND Sec. clarifies that the Philippines is not seeking trouble in the disputed territory

The secretary also addressed some criticisms, such as the Philippines allegedly seeking trouble.

“Regarding claims that we are looking for trouble, we are not the ones blocking anyone in the West Philippine Sea; we are the ones being blocked. So, what should we do? Just stand by? Surely, that cannot be,” Teodoro added.

Regarding the presence of Americans in the country, this was his response.

“They also say we are being influenced by other countries like the United States. This is a huge insult to our fellow Filipinos. You are already taking our territory, then you say we are obedient to other countries? It’s double, you’ve already kicked us, and now you’re punching us. Who among the Filipinos would be happy about this?” Teodoro said.


Follow SMNI NEWS on Twitter