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Civilian Boats Return After Ayungin Resupply Mission

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan: Two civilian boats chartered by the Philippine government returned to port here on Wednesday afternoon after successfully carrying out its mission of delivering much-needed provisions to troops standing guard in Ayungin Shoal aboard BRP Sierra Madre.

Crew members of Unaizah Mae 1 and Unaizah Mae 2 came home to their docking area in this city amid cheers and were personally welcomed by Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, chief of the Western Command (Wescom), together with Commodore Alan Javier, commander of Naval Forces West.

“We’re very happy. Everybody is in high morale, especially those who came from the outpost in Ayungin have finally returned, including the boats’ crew. All of them have successfully completed the resupply mission,” Carlos said.

He commended the crews’ determination in the face of hazardous maneuvers and other bullying tactics reportedly employed by the Chinese.

Filipino sailors manning the two small supply vessels endured verbal taunts and threats of being water cannoned by China’s coast guard, Wescom officials said.

They later recounted how the Chinese coast guard and militia vessels made another attempt to obstruct their path, but they pushed forward anyway.

Meanwhile, Carlos said “the supplies will be good for about one month.” Wescom’s top officer said there will be a debriefing before they provide more details about the recent Rotation and Resupply (RORE) mission, highlighting China’s continued disregard for the rules outlined in Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), such as dangerous close bow crossings, which should be addressed in the proper forum.

He restated the government’s resolute dedication to upholding its presence in the West Philippine Sea through consistent RORE missions to Ayungin Shoal and other areas under Philippine jurisdiction.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the maintenance of BRP Sierra Madre is an ongoing responsibility, as the ship remains an active commissioned vessel of the AFP.

“Part of our commission is to consistently maintain and refurbish the vessel to ensure the safety of our troops stationed there,” Carlos added.

Source : Manila Times