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PH to continue resupply missions in BRP Sierra Madre
PH to continue resupply missions in BRP Sierra Madre
PH to continue resupply missions in BRP Sierra Madre
by Mary Antalan23 October 2023
Photo Courtesy: PCG

The Philippines will remain committed to protecting and securing the national interest despite the latest illegal action shown by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and its maritime militia, the National Security Council (NSC) said on Sunday evening, October 22.

“We will not be deterred, and we will continue to resupply our troops in BRP Sierra Madre despite provocations,” National Security Adviser Secretary Eduardo Año said.

The statement was made following the two recent illegal actions of CCG and Chinese Militia vessels against the Philippines' supply boat Unaiza May 2 (UM 2) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel MRRV 4409 in its regular rotation and resupply (RORE) mission to BRP SIERRA MADRE (LS57).

Around 6:04 a.m. on Sunday, October 22, the dangerous blocking maneuvers of CCG were made at approximately 13.5 nautical miles east northeast of the BRP Sierra Madre.

Although the crews of the Philippine vessels involved in the collisions were safe and unharmed, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and PCG are firm in their legal rights to do such resupply in their own waters.

“Through the years, our resupply sorties have always been regular and routine. Our sailors have met Chinese vessels’ dangerous maneuvers with utmost patience, competence, and professionalism to avoid any accidents or untoward incidents,” Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, AFP Commander of the Western Command (WESCOM) said.

"We remain determined to secure our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction. Your WESCOM is undaunted," Carlos added.

On the other hand, newly appointed PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan stressed the importance of the recent resupply mission's success, which, though partial, demonstrated the AFP’s and PCG's "capability to manage and overcome provocative, irresponsible, and reckless conduct from their Chinese counterparts in a professional and resolute manner, without escalating tensions."

Gavan urged the CCG "to adhere to the maritime safety provisions of UNCLOS and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs) to ensure the safety of both parties involved, avoiding any unfortunate incidents that could put lives at risk."

Meanwhile, according to Año, the actions taken by CCG and their maritime militia and Chinese claims made through their Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their Embassy here in Manila are just putting them to shame."

PCG vessels MRRV-4407 and MRRV-4409 are currently escorting supply boats Unaiza May 1 and 2 back to their home port, according to PCG.

"According to the PCG, MRRV-4409 will stay with the supply boats to ensure that the damaged supply boat will safely make the trip," the statement read.

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