Thu. May 26th, 2022

The Philippine Navy (PN) continues to patrol and maintain its presence in the country’s vast territorial waters, an official said on Sunday.

Spectators raise their flags during the arrivalof BRP Conrado Yap (PS 39) at Pier 13 on Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy : KD Madrilejos/Rappler)

“It is not very much publicized but our Navy is constantly patrolling our seas. In fact as we speak, In fact as we speak, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the ship which we had constructed by South Korea is now patrolling off Pagasa Island and her sister ship, the BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) is now patrolling in Reed Bank,” Western Command chief, Vice Adm. Ramil Roberto Enriquez said partly in Filipino a radio interview.

Meanwhile, he said repairs to the damaged supply boats are now nearing completion.

Once the repairs are proven to be satisfactory, the resupply missions to Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea will proceed immediately.

“As of yesterday, their repairs were nearing completion and if these will completed by this afternoon, we will immediately test them immediately and proceed with the resupply mission,” Enriquez added in  Filipino.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday said the resupply mission for Filipino troops will proceed this week and that China will not interfere with this mission.

Lorenzana said they have been talking with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian since the evening of Nov. 16 when the incident took place until Nov. 20.

Asked also to comment on claims that the Philippine boasts were water cannoned for trespassing, he said it is China that is violating the country’s sovereign rights within its 200 nautical miles (NM) exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“They are the ones violating our sovereign rights within our EEZ. Our EEZ (200 NM from the Philippine mainland) was granted to the Philippines (by) the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) which, by the way, was ratified by China. Therefore, they have no right to impede, prevent or harass our ships within our EEZ whether we are fishing or bringing supplies to our detachment in the Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal,” Lorenzana said.

The Western Command earlier reported that three Chinese Coast Guard vessels “blocked and water cannoned” two Philippine supply boats or “bancas” on Nov. 16.

No one was hurt but the Philippine vessels, which were identified as Unaiza Mae 1 and 3, had to abort their mission after one of them had its outrigger damaged by the water cannon. 

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