MANILA — Due to repeated incidents of bullying and harassment by Chinese Coast Guard in the resupply mission of our Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, Sen. Idol Raffy Tulfo separately communicated over the phone with Ambassador of the Philippines to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Department of National Defense (DND) DND Sec. Gibo Teodoro and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Romeo Brawner on Thursday (Aug. 24, 2023).
In his conversation with Romualdez, Tulfo reiterated his recommendation for the US Navy and the PCG to conduct a joint military operation in the resupply mission for the members of our military deployed in Ayungin Shoal.
Tulfo explained that the joint patrol mission is currently being done by other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, which are joined by the US navy and the Australian navy in patrolling.
Romualdez agreed with Tulfo’s recommendation, stressing that he saw no problem with it. Romualdez added that the military only needs to contact the DND.
It can be recalled that Tulfo first suggested to the DND, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and military the idea of a joint US Navy and PCG resupply mission last Aug. 16, during the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Sen. Tulfo next contacted Teodoro who confirmed that the Philippine Navy and US Navy will have joint sail operations in the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
With regards to the resupply mission, Teodoro said he had no objection as long as it will be recommended by Brawner.
In talking to Brawner, Tulfo shared that the latter confirmed the statements from Romualdez and Teodoro. Brawner likewise said that the joint operation of the PCG and the US in the resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal is already underway.
In fact, Brawner said that they have already talked with Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, for its implementation that will start in the middle of September or the first week of October.
Ultimately, Tulfo stated: “Tapos na ang maliligayang araw ng pambubully at pangha-harass ng Chinese Coast Guard sa Philippine Coast Guard sa West Philippine Sea!” (ai/mnm)