Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel stationed in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in West Philippine Sea (WPS) were in high morale and good spirits despite the constant "harassment" they experience from Chinese vessels, a military spokesperson said.

AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said the troops guarding BRP Sierra Madre, the country's lone outpost in Ayungin Shoal, were inspired to work hard to make sure that the country's national interest is protected.

"They are very much inspired because, first, of the completed resupply missions; second, because of the support that they are hearing from almost all Filipinos, from politicians, national leaders, legislators, from the top military leadership, and of course from the media because of the way you report the incidents that are happening there," Aguilar said in a news forum in Quezon City on Satruday, Oct. 7.

Further, he said the troops also acknowledge the international community for supporting the Philippines' position in the WPS.

Last Oct. 4, the AFP completed another resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal through the help of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). 

Two civilian supply boats chartered by the AFP and escorted by two PCG vessels managed to reach BRP Sierra Madre and bring reprovisions for the troops that will help them last onboard the ship for several weeks despite attempts from China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese maritime militia (CMM) to block them anew.

The civilian boats and the PCG ships had to play cat and mouse with bigger vessels from the CCG and CMM just to complete the supply run. At one point, the CCG and PCG vessels nearly collided as the former attempted to block the latter from entering the shoal.

Aguilar said the AFP was taking notice of the "aggressive actions" of the China Coast Guard (CCG) and militia vessels against Filipino troops deployed in Ayungin Shoal.

He assured the troops that the AFP leadership will take steps to address the "persistent harassment" experienced by Filipino troops in WPS.

"We will find out how the situation will improve further because it cannot be always this way that there will be harassment, that there will be blocking operations or some kind of blocking, shadowing, all those harassments," Aguilar said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (