Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos on Ayungin incident: Deliberate action by China, but not armed attack

Dwight de Leon

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Marcos on Ayungin incident: Deliberate action by China, but not armed attack

CHINESE HARASSMENT. The China Coast Guard brandishes weapons, uses sirens, and threatens Filipino soldiers already moored alongside the BRP Sierra Madre during a June 17, 2024 resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal.

Armed Forces of the Philippines

When asked whether he has already summoned the Chinese ambassador over the incident, Marcos says the Philippines has to do more than just filing protests, but does not elaborate

MANILA, Philippines – The China Coast Guard’s (CCG) effort to disrupt Manila’s resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal on June 17 was not armed an attack, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in his first media interview since the incident.

Marcos on Ayungin incident: Deliberate action by China, but not armed attack

The incident – which severely injured a Filipino soldier – saw CCG officers use tear gas, brandish bladed weapons, tug at the Philippine Navy’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), and throw rocks at soldiers moored beside the BRP Sierra Madre, the dilapidated ship that serves as the Philippines’ outpost in Ayungin Shoal.

Marcos on Ayungin incident: Deliberate action by China, but not armed attack

“It’s not an armed attack. Walang pumutok. Hindi tayo tinutukan ng baril. (No shot was fired. They didn’t point a gun at us). But it was a deliberate action to stop our people,” Marcos said on Thursday, June 27.

“In the process of that, they boarded a Philippine vessel and took an equipment from a Philippine vessel. Although there were no arms involved, nonetheless, it is still a deliberate action, and essentially a legal action taken by Chinese forces,” he added.

His statement was consistent with remarks made by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela, although this was the first time Marcos publicly uttered the government’s line.

Malacañang, however, attracted criticism after Bersamin described the incident as a “probably a misunderstanding, or an accident.”

The administration later walked back from that statement, with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro saying China’s actions were “deliberate.”

But why downplay the incident in the first place?

Noong una, tinitingnan lang namin ‘yung data, e baka nagkamali lang. Pero noong napunta na ako sa Wescom at nakausap ko si Torres, at mga seamen, sinabi ko, ‘Ano ba talaga ang nangyari?’ Malinaw na hindi misunderstanding,” Marcos said on Thursday.

(At first, we were just looking at the data, and we thought, maybe there was just a mistake. But when I visited the Western Command and talked to Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres Jr., I asked, “What really happened?” It became clear it was not a misunderstanding.)

When asked whether he has summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian over the incident, Marcos only said the government is in constant communication with Beijing’s envoy.

“It will really depend on how formal we want to make this complaint. We have over 100 protests, we have already made similar number of remarks, we have to do more than just that. Kasi ipapatawag natin ‘yung ambassador, sabihin natin ito ‘yung gusto namin, ‘di namin gusto ‘yung nangyari, that’s it (Because we will summon the ambassador, tell him what we want to happen or that we didn’t like what happened, and that’s it). We have to do more than that,” Marcos added, without elaborating.

The Philippines had filed a protest over China’s disruption of the June 17 resupply mission.

Tensions between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea have worsened in the past year, as the Marcos government continues to assert the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.

China has expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea, and has rejected the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated its claims in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    The red line indicates that firearms are prohibited, but all other weapons, such as knives, are allowed. This situation is similar to Han’s Island in Bruce Lee’s movie “Enter the Dragon,” where any weapon is allowed except firearms. It would be interesting to see how our soldiers’ “Arnis” skills compare to the CCG’s “Kung Fu” skills in the next violent encounter.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.