Malacañang lauded members of the Philippine Coast Guard for driving away a Chinese naval warship spotted sailing in the country’s waters.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the PCG BRP Cabra issued a radio challenge and drove away a Chinese Navy warship spotted near the Marie Louise Bank in the West Philippine Sea on July 13.
“We salute our PCG. Congratulations to our brave PCG,” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday.
“I’m sure in due course you will be given the proper recognition that you deserve. We salute you,” he added.
The Marie Louise Bank is situated around 147 nautical miles from the coast of El Nido, Palawan.
The PCG said BRP Cabra followed the Chinese vessel as it moved away from the Marie Louse Bank.
As the BRP Cabra reduced its distance from the Chinese vessel to 500 to 600 yards, or around 0.3 nautical mile, the Chinese vesselreportedly sent a radio message: “Philippine Coast Guard 4409, this is Chinese Navy Warship 189. Please keep two nautical miles distance from me.”
The PCG said they were mindful of the Rules on the Use of Force (RUF) until the Chinese vessel cleared the area.
President Rodrigo Duterte had directed the country’s ships to continue the sovereign patrols in the disputed West Philippine Sea, assuring that the country has become “a little stronger” in dealing with China but will not start a war over the territorial conflict.
The President also vowed that the government would “not waver” in its position on the WPS but stressed the need to pursue a peaceful and rules-based resolution to the sea dispute with China.
On June 30, BRP Cabra chased away five Chinese ships and two Vietnamese vessels that were found inside the Marie Louise Bank.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the PCG said BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) monitored a “navy warship” with the PRC flag and marked with Chinese characters.
It said the BRP Cabra “calmly” sent a radio challenge to the navy warship while monitoring the ship’s movement using its radar.
“The PCG vessel moved closer to better see the activities of the Chinese Navy warship,” the Coast Guard said.
It said BRP Cabra, led by Commander Erwin Tolentino, did not receive a verbal response, prompting it to use its Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to issue a verbal challenge to the Chinese warship.
“After which, the vessel began moving away from the Marie Louise Bank.
It was followed by BRP Cabra to ensure that the ship leaves the Philippines’ EEZ,” the PCG said.
It noted that all actions by the BRP Cabra followed the “PCG manual on rules on the use of force within the Philippines’ EEZ” to ensure a “rules-based peaceful approach” in enforcing the country’s sovereignty and protecting its borders.
The PCG said BRP Cabra’s patrol at the Marie Louise Bank and the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan is part of its mission under “Task Force Pagsasanay.”
The task force was launched by PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. on April 6 to help ensure the health and safety of Filipino fishermen around the Philippines’ EEZ and in the West Philippines Sea.
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