MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship blocked Filipino vessels conducting a resupply mission to a Philippine Navy ship stationed in the West Philippine Sea.
The Department of National Defense (DND) reported that in May, a Chinese Coast Guard ship blocked the route of three Philippine civilian vessels on a resupply mission to grounded BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.
The CCG ship with bow number 3305 came as close as 1,600 yards to the Philippine vessels, according to the report.
The DND also observed that CCG ships were in close proximity to Ayungin Shoal since January.
“Notably, China regularly deploys at least one CCG vessel perceived to be monitoring the activities there at, including the arrival of Filipino fishing boats as well as the Rotation and Reprovision mission of the [Philippine Navy],” the DND report read.
The DND submitted this report to the House upon the request of Rep. Carlos Zarate for a report on the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization and incursion of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.
In May 2018, former Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo Party-list) also told the House that Chinese navy and coast guard ships harassed Filipino troops conducting resupply missions to personnel stationed on Ayungin Shoal.
Citing his sources at the DFA, Alejano said a chopper of China’s navy hovered from a close and dangerous distance when the Philippine navy launched a rubber boat.
Asked about this incident in June last year, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was not aware of the issue.
“What kind of harassment in the first place before—before I commit myself to answer the question, what kind of harassment was this?” Duterte said last year.
Former Foreign Affairs secretary and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the Ayungin Shoal was among the “red lines” that the Philippines set on China last year.
The Philippines had warned China against attempting to remove BRP Sierra Madre, which has been grounded on Ayungin Shoal since 1999. The navy ship was deliberately run aground at the shoal in response to Chinese reclamation on Mischief Reef.