Press Release
November 12, 2023

Bong Go strongly condemns Chinese Coast Guard's latest use of water cannon against PH supply ships in West Philippine Sea

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has unequivocally condemned the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard, which reportedly fired a water cannon at a Philippine boat delivering supplies to Filipino troops stationed at a remote outpost in Ayungin Shoal on Friday, November 10.

Upholding the country's rights and sovereignty, Go did not mince words as he addressed the incident. "As vice chairman of the Committee on National Defense, hindi lang po nakakabahala kundi atin po itong kinokondena."

"This brazen behavior in our territorial waters is not only a blatant disregard of international maritime laws but also a direct challenge to the sovereign rights of our nation," Go added.

The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) disclosed that the Chinese Coast Guard and Maritime Militia obstructed and harassed the Philippine resupply ships heading to Ayungin Shoal's BRP Sierra Madre outpost. They employed dangerous tactics, including using a water cannon on the M/L Kalayaan supply vessel and harassing other boats with rigid-hulled inflatable boats.

Despite these provocations, the Philippine vessels completed their mission.

The Philippine Embassy in Beijing and the Department of Foreign Affairs have protested to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, demanding the withdrawal of Chinese vessels from Ayungin Shoal, which is part of the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone.

Chinese Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yu said in a statement that they "followed the Philippine ships in accordance with law, taking necessary control measures, and made temporary special arrangements for the Philippines side to transport food and other daily necessities."

However, Go questioned the glaring inconsistencies in China's stance saying, "how can they speak of the rule of law while simultaneously violating international norms and the sovereign rights of other nations by putting Filipinos' lives at risk with their bullying tactics."

Previously, Go also strongly condemned the aggressive action by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the West Philippine Sea, following its collision with an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-contracted resupply boat, the Unaiza May 2, on October 22.

He also previously denounced similar aggressive acts by the Chinese in the region, notably when a Chinese coast guard vessel employed water cannons against a Filipino boat trying to deliver supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre, which is grounded at Ayungin Shoal, and another involving the use of a military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard vessel.

To further improve the country's maritime capabilities, Go has filed Senate Bill No. 2112, or the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Modernization Bill. The proposed bill seeks to upgrade the PCG's assets and resources, to enable the service to carry out its duties and responsibilities more effectively. Its main goal is to upgrade the PCG's vessels, aircraft, and equipment to meet international standards.

"Bilang inyong senador, nag-file din po ako (para sa) modernization ng ating Coast Guard, karagdagang kagamitan, mga modernong kagamitan po para naman po ma-reinforce natin ang ating Philippine Coast Guard," said Go previously.

Such improvements, if the measure is enacted into law, are also expected to significantly enhance response time during maritime incidents and emergencies.

"Our Coast Guard serves as the frontline defense against threats like smuggling and terrorism. Malaki at importante po ang kanilang trabaho. Additionally, they provide invaluable assistance during natural disasters and emergencies," Go explained.

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