By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA File Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the implementation of a “response and countermeasure package” in the face of China’s continued aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement released on social media Thursday, Marcos said he has met with the country’s security and defense officials in the past few days following the water cannon attack of China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese Maritime Militia on a Philippine supply vessel in Ayungin Shoal that left three crew members injured.

The President also bared that he has been in “constant communication” with representatives of the country’s allies, partners, and friends in the international community.

“They have offered to help us on what the Philippines requires to protect and secure our Sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction while ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Marcos said.

“I have given them our requirements and we have been assured that they will be addressed,” he added.

According to the Chief Executive, the “response and countermeasure package” will be implemented by national government agencies and instrumentalities over the succeeding weeks.

He did not divulge specifics of the countermeasure package but he described it as “proportionate, deliberate, and reasonable in the face of the open, unabating, and illegal, coercive, aggressive, and dangerous attacks” of China.

“We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience,” Marcos said.

“Filipinos do not yield,” he stressed.

At least three Navy personnel aboard the Unaizah May 4 (UM4) were injured over the weekend after the two vessels of the CCG water cannoned their vessel carrying supplies for the Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre, the grounded ship that serves as the country’s outpost in Ayungin Shoal.

The UM4 sustained heavy damaged after the incident, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Department of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy to convey the Philippines’ strong protest over the incident, the second time this month that Filipino crew members were injured in a confrontation between Chinese and Philippine ships in the disputed territories.

Several countries have also expressed support to the Philippines as they condemned China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea and called for restraint and adherence to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and the 2016 Arbitral decision.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, and maritime features in the West Philippine Sea that are well within Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled to dismiss China’s sweeping historical claims to the waterway, but Beijing has refused to acknowledge the ruling. (PNA)