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PH should recall its envoy to Beijing over WPS harassment -senator

Given the recent harassment of Philippine resupply missions in the West Philippine Sea, Senator Francis Tolentino on Sunday suggested that the Foreign Affairs Department should talk with the Chinese ambassador, as well as recall our ambassador in Beijing.

According to a Sunday 24 Oras Weekend report, Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, explained that these actions were a way by which the Philippines could convey the seriousness of its condemnation of China's behavior in the West Philippine Sea.

Tolentino added that it was time for the Philippines to bring the West Philippine Sea issue to the United Nations.

Furthermore, the senator disapproved of the suggestion that resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal be carried out by airdrop given that the Philippines had a right to be in the shoal.

On Friday, the Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard of firing water cannon at a boat carrying provisions to Filipino troops aboard the Sierra Madre.

"CCG vessel 5203 deployed water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal though unsuccessful attempt to force the latter to alter course," the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea  said in a statement.

"We condemn, once again, China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission."

The incident also prompted the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest against China.

“The Philippine Embassy in Beijing has demarched the Chinese foreign ministry and protested these actions,” the NTF-WPS said.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs has also reached out to them and conveyed our protest directly through the Maritime Communications Mechanism.”

China has consistently tried to block and harass resupply ships going to Ayungin Shoal.

Last October 22, a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel collided with an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-contracted boat going to the Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission.

NTF-WPS said the incident occurred at around 6:04 a.m., when the “dangerous blocking maneuvers” of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 (CCGV 5203) caused the collision with the AFP-contracted indigenous resupply boat Unaiza May 2 (UM2) approximately 13.5 nautical miles east northeast of the BRP Sierra Madre.

Last August 6, the Philippine Coast Guard said the China Coast Guard (CCG) illegally used water cannons against its vessels going to Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission at the BRP Sierra Madre. — DVM, GMA Integrated News