News Release

China’s action in Ayungin was an aggressive, illegal use of force – gov’t

The Philippine government said China’s aggressive behavior in Ayungin Shoal is not a misunderstanding or an accident, but an aggressive and illegal use of force.

In a joint statement by the Department of National Defense (DND), Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) read by Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. in a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday, the government said It is not downplaying the recent incident where one Philippine Navy personnel was injured after Philippine troops were attacked by the Chinese Coast Guard during a rotation and reprovision (RORE) mission to the BRP Sierra Madre.

“We see the latest incident in Ayungin not as a misunderstanding or an accident. It is a deliberate act of the Chinese officialdom to prevent us from completing our mission,” the statement said.

The government came up with such conclusion following the visit of President Marcos to the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Palawan on Sunday, it added.

“We are not downplaying the incident. It was an act of aggressive and illegal use of force. We, however, continue to find peaceful solutions to this issue. As pointed out by the President, ‘we are not in the business to instigate wars,’” the statement said.

In an interview, Secretary Teodoro also clarified that the statement issued by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on Friday “was a preliminary assessment at that time.”  “But after the trip of the President to Palawan, nag-firm up na ‘yung conclusion na talagang deliberate incident ito,” he added.

President Marcos visited the Western Command in Palawan on Sunday where he personally met the troops who conducted the RORE mission in Ayungin Shoal. The visit was part of the Commander-in-Chief’s efforts to boost the troops’ morale amid China’s aggressive actions in Philippine waters.

The President also awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan to Seaman First Class Underwater Operator Jeffrey Facundo who lost a finger during the Ayungin fracas while 79 others were awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kamagi by the Chief Executive.

Secretary Teodoro said the AFP’s morale was high during President Marcos’ visit to Palawan. | PND