By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

PH FLAG RAISED IN WPS. The ceremonial flag-raising of the Philippine flag aboard BRP Teresa Magbanua at Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea during the 126th Independence Day on Wednesday (June 12, 2024). Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the ceremony was the first-ever flag-raising held by the country at Sabina Shoal. (Photo courtesy of PCG)

MANILA – Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel aboard BRP Teresa Magbanua held a ceremonial flag-raising at Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) on Wednesday while surrounded by several Chinese vessels.

In a Viber message to reporters, PCG spokesperson, Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the event was the first-ever flag-raising ceremony at Sabina Shoal to celebrate the country’s 126th Independence Day.

“Nasa Sabina Shoal ang BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV 9701) upang panatiliin ang kaligtasan at seguridad sa naturang katubigan na bahagi ng exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas (BRP Teresa Magbanua is at Sabina Shoal to maintain peace and security within the waters of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone),” Balilo said.

During the ceremony, the PCG spotted eight Chinese vessels within Sabina Shoal and four more outside the shoal.

Balilo said the Chinese vessels were monitoring the event.

Two Chinese Coast Guard vessels spotted during the flag-raising ceremony aboard BRP Teresa Magbanua at Sabina Shoal on June 12, 2024

The ceremony was led by PCG Lt. Efren Duran with the crew and riders of BRP Teresa Magbanua.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy (PN) got 190 cases of assorted food items for troops manning the various detachments in the West Philippine Sea.

PN chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. said the donations were a testamen