MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) will not fire the first shot and is willing to resolve issues through peaceful means despite provocative actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), PN Commander Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said on Tuesday.
“The one who fires the first shot loses public support because in so many of our engagements, we reiterated that we should resolve our issues through peaceful means,” Commander Bacordo said in an interview.
One such incident he referred to involved the anti-submarine corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), which was allegedly targeted by the fire-control system of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army/Navy corvette it encountered while patrolling off at the Kalayaan Island Group last 17 February.
“Remember the February incident where they pointed their fire-control system in the direction of (BRP) Conrado Yap? That is an example, a provoking action from one navy ship to another navy ship. In a worst-case scenario an actual conflict or firing of the first shot occurred, that would be a very unpopular move for the one who made the first shot,” Bacordo said.
Other provocative actions of the Chinese include its ships getting too close to replenishment civilian vessels. Bacordo, however, said the decision to fire or not is a judgment call of the commander of the PN vessel.
“That’s a judgment call already so you can invoke self-defense, or unit self-defense in that case, that’s a different story. So again, that’s why commanding officers, before they reach that position, they must have spent several years on-sea duty,” he said. (PNA) (IA/DS)