MANILA, Nov 22 (Mabuhay) –Some Chinese ships had already pulled out from Ayungin Shoal where Chinese vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats last week, a Philippine military official said Sunday.
Vice Admiral Roberto Enriquez, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command (WesCom), bared that only at least two Chinese vessels remained in the area as of 12 a.m. Sunday.
“Ang kagandahan lang, namataan namin ‘yung Chinese militia vessels du’n (Ayungin Shoal) nag-alisan na ng hatinggabi. Ang Chinese Coast Guard ay naging dalawa na lang,” said Enriquez after discussing that more boats will be sent to the Ayungin Shoal after repairs.
“So pakiramdam ko may ibang mensahe na nakarating sa bansang China kaya nag-pull out na ‘yung ibang sasakyang pandagat doon,” he added.
It was Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. who disclosed that the Philippine supply boats were harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard on November 16. He expressed outrage and condemnation over the incident.
Citing reports from WesCom, Locsin said the Philippine boats were on their way to transport food supplies to Filipino soldiers in Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal.
No one was hurt in the incident, but the boats had to abort their resupply mission, Locsin said.
Following the incident, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Chinese incursion, which lasted for one hour, was unusual.
He added that they were forced to abort the mission due to the 19 Chinese maritime militia ships at Ayungin Shoal.
Malacañang, meanwhile, said the Philippines will pursue resupply missions even after the November 16 incident.
China on Thursday said its coast guard upheld its sovereignty when the Philippine vessels intruded into what it claimed was its waters.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, a group of Chinese vessels was spotted in the waters near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. (MNS)