Navy crew on new resupply run to BRP Sierra Madre still unarmed – Brawner
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Navy crew who had just embarked on another resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal are still unarmed despite China’s recent aggression, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said on Monday.
“Yes, they are still unarmed,” Brawner said, speaking partly in Filipino, said in an ambush interview at Camp Aguinaldo when asked about the matter.
“We are not going there to make war. We’re just going there to simply bring supplies to our troops and to rotate.”
The BRP Sierra Madre is a World War II ship that the Philippine Navy deliberately ran aground at Ayungin Shoal, about 194 kilometers off Palawan in the west, to serve as one of the outposts to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
Last Aug. 5, the Navy resupply mission, consisting of two ships, was not able to push through because Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons against Philippine ships headed for the BRP Sierra Madre.
They were supposed to deliver food, water, fuel, and other supplies for the marine contingent there.
China has insisted on asserting ownership over the shoal — the entire West Philippine Sea, in fact, — based on its so-called nine-dash line, although this was invalidated by the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippines.