By Priam Nepomuceno

AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – Filipino troops will “respond appropriately” in case of a repeat of the recent incident in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) where China Coast Guard (CCG) personnel harassed a Philippine rotation and resupply (RORE) contingent, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said on Thursday.

“Under the Rules of Engagement (ROE), a person has the right to defend himself in any manner. Pero meron po tayong steps na sinusunod sa (but we have steps to follow under the) ROE. So, for instance, meron pong umatake sa akin, ang gagawin po natin is (should someone attack, what we will do is) that we will apply the same level of force that would allow us to defend ourselves,” he said during an interview shortly after the first-semester command conference with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Brawner said this means that if Filipino troops are attacked with knives, they will use similar weapons to defend themselves.

“Hindi po yung lalabis. That’s the concept of proportionality. So hindi po natin siya babarilin (We will not resort to excessive use of force. That’s the concept of proportionality. So we will not shoot them),” he added.

The AFP chief also said Filipino troops would never allow themselves to be bullied and would continue fulfilling their mandate in compliance with the law.

During the June 17 incident, Filipino troops were seen being threatened by knives and other pointed weapons by CCG personnel to disrupt their resupply mission to the Philippine naval vessel BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57) in the Ayungin Shoal.

Aside from threatening AFP personnel, the Chinese also looted and damaged Philippine rigid hull inflatable boats used in the mission. (PNA)