News Release

WPS task force: West Philippine Sea resupply missions successful, proof of PH resolve and determination to defend territory


The recent resupply mission at the Bajo de Masinloc was a success amid the attempts of Chinese naval forces to block the convoy of Philippine boats delivering the provisions, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.

AFP spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar told a press briefing in Malacanang that the recent supply run to Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) turned out to be a success with military chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. personally overseeing the supply operations.

“It was a regular RORE (rotation and resupply) mission for us. Of course, there were contingencies prepared because of the presence of the Chief of Staff. But, he was there to experience for himself first hand,” AFP spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar said in a Malacañang briefing.

Aguilar added the AFP chief himself joined the Philippine team in the resupply mission to convey the message of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to the troops who are manning the BRP Sierra Madre and to express the government’s support.

Aguilar clarified the presence of the military chief in RORE missions could not be considered provocative.

National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, spokesman of the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), also said the missions were successful despite the harassments and obstructions. “Despite Chinese attempts to obstruct and impede our missions, we wish to report to the Filipino people that the humanitarian and supply mission to our Filipino fishermen was a complete success mission-wise. We were able to delivery thousands of liters of fuel to some 30 fishing boats, as well as food and Noche Buena packages for them and their families. Some 30 tons of fish was also caught in BDM waters as result of the mission by DA-BFAR,” he said.

He said China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea cannot be considered acts of war but “are a serious escalation.” “But is this an act of war? We don’t think so. This is just part of the cat-and-mouse game that China seems to be utilizing to further its own interests. On the part of the Philippines, as we have repeatedly said, we shall remain undeterred and we will continue to conduct these missions in support of our troops and our fisherman wherever they may be in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

He further stated, “(t)he Filipino people, and the whole world know and have seen that the incidents of the past two days are a serious escalation on the part of the People’s Republic of China. Because what we have been doing has been Standard Operation Procedure. We are not doing anything different.”

“We always do this humanitarian and supply missions to Bajo de Masinloc in support of our fishermen. We do regular, RORE missions to Ayungin. But the actions that they have shown in the past few days really have shown a desire on their part to escalate situations,” he added.

Malaya stressed the Philippine government is taking the West Philippine Sea incident seriously as there have been significant damage to the Philippine vessels in terms of its various equipment including navigation, communications and the engine of one of the supply ship, ML Kalayaan.

“So, we are taking this very seriously. But is this an act of war? We don’t think so. This is just part of the cat-and-mouse game that China seems to be utilizing to further its own interests,” the NSC official quipped.

Malaya said the Philippines will remain undeterred amid the recent attacks by the Chinese Coast Guard and will continue to conduct these missions in support of the Philippine troops and fishermen wherever they may be in the West Philippine Sea. PND