By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

RECOGNITION. Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson, Rear Admiral Armando Balilo (left) with Captain Jane Gesulgon aboard BRP Bagacay during an awarding ceremoney at Port Area, Manila on Thursday (May 2, 2024). Gesulgon and his 38 crew members were awarded the Coast Guard Merit Medal and Ribbon in recognition of their bravery during a water cannon attack from two Chinese Coast Guard that damaged their ship on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of PCG)

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) honored the ship crew of BRP Bagacay (MRRV-4410) with the Coast Guard Merit Medal and Ribbon in recognition of their bravery during the water cannon attack by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) near Bajo de Masinloc on Tuesday.

The PCG said the 38 ship crew members and their leader, Captain Jane Gesulgon, received the recognition from PCG officer in charge, Vice Admiral Rolando Lizon Punzalan Jr. in a ceremony in Port Area, Manila on Thursday.

Gesulgon and his crew members were praised for accomplishing their mission while ensuring everyone’s safety amid a water cannon attack from two Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels that damaged their ship during the incident.

PCG Civil Relations Service Commander, Rear Admiral Armando Balilo, and District National Capital Region- Central Luzon Commander, Commodore Arnaldo Lim, were also present during the ceremony.

On Wednesday, National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said the April 30 attack on BRP Bagacay and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel BRP Bankaw highlights China’s “lack of concern for regional peace and stability.”

Tarriela said the attack using jet stream cannons was so forceful that it damaged both Philippine vessels.

On Tuesday, BRP Bagacay and BRP Bankaw encountered at least 10 Chinese vessels — four CCG vessels and six Chinese maritime militia vessels — during a routine mission to distribute food and other supplies to Filipino fisherfolk in the area.

The Chinese ships again performed dangerous maneuvering, blocking and water cannon attacks near Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea. (PNA)