Another resupply mission eyed for PH troops in Ayungin Shoal

By Priam Nepomuceno

August 8, 2023, 1:58 pm

<p>AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is set to conduct another resupply mission for Filipino troops manning the BRP Sierra Madre (LST-57) which is permanently stationed in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

"Kalahati lang po kasi yung na-unload na supply so kulang po yun (Only half of the regular supply was unloaded that’s why it’s not enough)," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a radio interview Tuesday.

The harassment from the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and militia vessels on Aug. 5 has prevented one of the two chartered vessels from fulfilling its resupply mission.

Aguilar said he is not privy on how long these supplies will last but noted that there is a need to resupply these military personnel within the next two weeks.

"I'm not sure but we need to resupply them within the next two weeks but we will see how we are going to do it dahil sa nangyayari ngayon sa (because of what just happened) West Philippine Sea)," Aguilar said.

Also, he added that it is the AFP's objective to ensure that these troops have the necessary food, drinks and other supplies they need to do their task there.

On Monday, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) strongly condemned Chinese attempts to block the country's efforts to resupply its troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal.

National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said the "repeated water cannoning and continuous dangerous maneuvers" by the CCG and Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels also put the lives of the crews of the Philippine vessels in danger.

Malaya added such acts violate humanitarian and international laws as the Philippines was only conducting legal activities to support its troops manning the BRP Sierra Madre which is stationed in Ayungin Shoal which is part of the country's territory.

Malaya also blamed the CCG and CMM's "dangerous and unlawful tactics" for preventing the second Philippine supply boat from completing its mission of bringing food, water, and other provisions to Filipino troops deployed in Ayungin.

At one point, Malaya said a CCG vessel blocked the way of a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship within 20 yards, a maneuver that could have resulted in a collision, if not for the quick thinking and action of Filipino coast guard crews.

He also added that the government will never waver in its determination to resupply our troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal and other Philippine-occupied features.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday officially summoned Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian and demanded the cessation of illegal and dangerous activities in the WPS. (PNA)