DESPITE the dangerous maneuvers executed by the China Coast Guard (CCG) against Filipino ships engaged in the “rotation and resupply” (RORE) missions for the detachment in Ayungin Shoal, resupply efforts will continue, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” C. Teodoro Jr. said Monday.
This as he scored the “irresponsible behavior” of the CCG for conducting harassment maneuvers during the Friday, September 8, resupply mission to the troops manning the BRP Sierra Madre.
“We will continue to resupply BRP Sierra Madre, and of course the Philippine Coast Guard vessels were once again dangerously harassed. This is to me irresponsible behavior on the part of the Chinese coast guard and I think that the world knows who is in the right here, so it doesn’t need much more saying, or talking about, the world has reacted before to the water cannoning,” Teodoro said during the sidelines of the commissioning of the two newest ships of the Alvarez-class patrol ships at the Philippine Navy (PN) headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada, Roxas Boulevard, Manila on Monday.
And while the CCG ships involved in these dangerous maneuvers against Filipino ships did not fire their water cannons like in the August 5 resupply mission, this latest incident can be considered an “egregious violation of maritime safety.”
This was emphasized by videos taken by media teams covering the resupply missions that show CCG vessels cutting and tailing Philippine ships so close that collision or ramming is an ever-present danger.
Despite this, Teodoro maintained that escorts for RORE missions would continue.
“Tayo dere-deretso lang nag-eescort ng ating RORE vessels, eh sila nanggigitgit ng ganun, so sino ang iresponsable dito sa akin obvious na po ang kasagutan. (We will continue escorting our RORE vessels, while they try to corner and cut into our ships, so who is the irresponsible one here, for me the answer is pretty obvious),” the defense chief noted.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) earlier said that the resupply for troops in Ayungin Shoal was successfully completed despite Chinese harrasment last Friday.
The resupply was conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command with assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard.
“The Task Force is also informed that the harassment, dangerous maneuvers, and aggressive conduct of the vessels of the CCG and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) against our public vessels took place again during the conduct of routine and regular operations well within our nation’s exclusive economic zone,” NTF-WPS stressed.
It also noted that these operations are part of the Philippine government’s legitimate exercise of its administrative functions and jurisdiction over the WPS that is firmly anchored on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award.
“The Task Force strongly deplores and condemns the continued illegal, aggressive, and destabilizing conduct of the CCG and the CMM within our nation’s EEZ. We reiterate what President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said during the recently concluded 43rd Asean Summit regarding the South China Sea: Practical cooperation in the maritime domain can only flourish with an enabling environment of regional peace, security, and stability anchored in international law. We call on all to do their part in ensuring a peaceful and rules-based international order in the oceans.”