By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

RAMMING. Filipino soldiers jump out of the way of the ramming of a China Coast Guard boat during a medical evacuation in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea on May 19, 2024. National Task Force for the WPS spokesperson, Philippine Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela called such moves “barbaric and inhumane.” (Screen capture of PCG video)

MANILA – The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) on Friday called the actions of the China Coast Guard (CCG) “barbaric and inhumane” after its vessels blocked and rammed a Philippine boat during a medical evacuation in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement, NTF-WPS Spokesperson, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Jay Tarriela said the incident happened on May 19 when PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan ordered the deployment of a high-speed response boat (HSRB) from Buliluyan Port to rendezvous with a Philippine Navy (PN) Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) carrying sick personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for medical evacuation.

“The barbaric and inhumane behavior displayed by the CCG has no place in our society. What should have been a simple medical evacuation operation was subjected to harassment,” he said.

The incident happened 15.43 nautical miles southeast of the northeastern entrance of Ayungin Shoal in the WPS.

During the attempt to bring the PCG HSRB alongside the PN RHIB, the CCG deployed two vessels (21551 and 21555), two small boats, and two rubber boats to harass the two Philippine vessels.

“Despite informing the CCG via radio and public address system about the humanitarian nature of our mission for medical evacuation, they still engaged in dangerous maneuvers and even intentionally rammed the PN RHIB while transporting the sick personnel,” he said.

Despite the harassment, the transfer of the sick personnel was completed and later reached Buliluyan Port safely.

“Despite the challenges posed by the interference from the CCG, the PN and PCG displayed remarkable cooperation, professionalism, and determination. They successfully outmaneuvered the numerous CCG assets,” he said.

After reaching the port, the AFP personnel were transported to the nearest hospital and received immediate medical attention. (PNA)