THE Chinese Coast Guard was asked to cooperate and not interfere with another resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed in the BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal, a military official said on Saturday.
In a news forum in Quezon City, Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said that the military is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of Filipino soldiers deployed in BRP Sierra Madre as he mentioned the conduct of another resupply mission.
The supply mission for the AFP personnel is intended to maintain the country’s presence in the Ayungin Shoal and to exercise its sovereign rights and jurisdiction based on international law to ensure regional peace and stability.
“Let me add also that we have special message to the China Coastguard for them to behave. They should not do any action that will endanger people’s lives. For all the consequences that the singular acts will cause, the blame will be on them and on the authorities above them, so they should behave,” Aguilar said in the forum. “They should not interfere with our re-mission.”
Aguilar pointed out that the Ayungin Shoal holds a strategic importance for the Philippines and is a vital fishing ground for Filipino fishermen.
Beyond its practical purpose, the roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) mission to the shoal is a clear demonstration of the country’s resolve to standup against threats and coercion and its commitment in upholding the rule of law.
“As we continue to pursue this humanitarian undertaking and defend our rights [in] our maritime shoals, we also affirmed our support for the peaceful settlement of disputes,” Medel told the forum.
“We call on all relevant parties to abide by (their) obligations under international law and respect the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its maritime source,” he said.
A resupply mission last Aug. 5 was subjected to dangerous maneuvers by the China Coast Guard firing water cannons to the resupply vessel going to Ayungin Shoal, putting the lives of the crew of the Philippine vessel at risk.
The members of the international community, particularly the Philippines’ allies, also condemned China’s actions.