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Chinese agents seize supplies in BRP Sierra Madre airdrop mission

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday released a video showing Chinese agents "snatching" the supplies it airdropped for Filipino troops on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

AFP also said that the Chinese agents used "dangerous" maneuvers after steering "very close" to Filipino soldiers. 

“Because of that intent of the Chinese Coast Guard to get our supplies they came very very close to the BRP Sierra Madre. From the point of view of our soldiers, this pose a danger, a threat dahil napakalapit na nila (because they were so close),”  AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said.



The Philippine Navy, meanwhile, presented a video to debunk the claim of Chinese state media that Filipino troops pointed guns at the Chinese agents on May 19, which the Philippine military denied.

“That is why there were videos, images of our soldiers carrying their guns but they, again I’d like to emphasize, they did not point their guns to the Chinese. Meron po tayong sinusunod na rules of engagement. Alam po ng mga sundalo natin yan,” he added.

(We are following a rule of engagement. The soldiers know that.)

Based on the video provided by the Philippine Navy, the Chinese agents went five to 10 meters close to BRP Sierra Madre when the second of the four batches of supplies dropped in the area.

The Chinese agents, who are possibly from the China Coast Guard or People’s Liberation Army, used two  rigid hull inflatable boats while Filipino personnel used two rubber boats to pick up the supplies.

While they were racing for the supplies, a Filipino personnel can be heard in the video saying that one of the Chinese agents fell off their boat.



The two camps were shouting at each other.

“Unfortunately one of the packages was intercepted by the Chinese,” Brawner said.

“As you saw in the video when the second package resupply package was dropped, they went to the area to recover it despite the fact that our boats were already there so nakipagagawan pa sila, inunahan pa tayo (they were trying to get it first.),” he added.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including parts claimed by the  Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The section of the sea that is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone was renamed the West Philippine Sea.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in the Hague said China's claims had no legal basis. Beijing has rejected the decision. —VAL, GMA Integrated News