Filtered By: Topstories

Navy man who lost thumb in Ayungin encounter: China actions 'intentional'

PH Navy man who lost thumb in Ayungin encounter: China actions 'intentional'

Seaman First Class Jeffrey Facundo, the Philippine Navy officer who lost his thumb in the latest encounter with China at Ayungin Shoal, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the Chinese Coast Guard's action cannot be tagged as an accident because it was "intentional."

"Hindi siya maitawag na aksidente. Intentional eh... Intentional 'yung pagbangga, pagbutas, pagsira," Facundo said during the Senate foreign relations committee inquiry into the June 17 incident.

[It cannot be called as an accident ... the ramming, puncturing, and destroying (of our rhib] was intentional.]

"Ayaw na nilang magpa-resupply at rotation sa Ayungin. Ayaw kami pa-resuplayin, ayaw paakyatin… kasi…ano, babawasan na yung tao sa ayungin...para sa akin 'yun ang intensyon," he went on.

[They won't let us resupply ... they won't let us board (BRP Sierra Madre) to lessen our people there ... that to me, was their intention.]

For the first time, Facundo narrated how the CCG harassed them while aboard two rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) on their way to BRP Sierra Madre which has been at Ayungin Shoal since 1999.

According to the Navy officer, they reached BRP Sierra Madre around 6 a.m. on June 17. Five minutes later, eight CCG RHIBs, including one aluminum boat, arrived.

"Pagkadating po nila agad wala na po warning, diniretso pagbangga po," Facundo shared.

[Soon as they arrived, there was no warning, they just rammed us.]

According to Facundo, each RHIB had around 10 CCG personnel.

One of them was holding a fire axe while the others had "customized spheres" on their hands.

The customized spheres, he said, are tubes with sharp edges. Those were used to damage their RHIBs, Facundo said.

"'Yung kabilang RHIB binabangga na tapos tinutusok na mismong tube, 'yung tali na tinali sa Sierra Madre pinagpuputol nila. Pero 'di naman pumapayag ang tropa na putulin nila kaya nagkaroon ng labanan dun pero wala tayo armas na gamit," he shared.

[The ther RHIB was being rammed and punctured. The rope tied to BRP Sierra Madre was being cut. But our troops won't let them cut it, hence the encounter but we didn't use any arms.]

The Chinese men were shouting at them in their language.

Thumb cut off

According to Facundo, his thumb was cut off when the CCG bumped their RHIB for the second time and the Chinese boat went on top of their rubber vessel. The sharp metal under the Chinese vessel sliced off his finger.

"Nu'ng kumuha ng buwelo tapos binangga kami, tatlo kaming nasa harapan...Ako 'yung sa kaliwa... Ngayon 'yung RHIB ng kalaban dito sa kaliwa, umangat, pumatong sa RHIB natin. Tapos yung kill, 'yung ilalim po na matulis, nu'ng pagbangga po na-out of balance ako, natumba. Ngayon 'yung RHIB na ito, kung saan ako bumagsak doon din siya bumagsak," he shared.

[They gained momentum before ramming us, three of us were in front. I was on the left. Their RHIB went  on top of our RHIB. I got off-balanced and fell. Their RHIB fell where I also fell.]

After that, Facundo said the Chinese personnel towed the Philippine RHIBs away from Ayungin Shoal, destroyed their belongings, including some of their mobile phones, and seized their firearms.

Facundo did not get immediate medical attention because the CCG also destroyed the rubber boat that was used for his medical evacuation from BRP Sierra Madre.

At around 11 in the evening, he boarded a Philippine Coast Guard RHIB and went to a PCG vessel stationed 20 nautical miles away from Ayungin Shoal for his medical evacuation.

Last week, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said the incident was not an armed attack, but probably a misunderstanding or accident.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the incident was an aggressive and illegal use of force by the Chinese personnel.

President Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. had said the Philippines will not use force or intimidation or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Marcos said the country is not in the business to instigate wars as ''our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino.''

The President recently conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan on Facundo, and the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kamagi to 79 other military personnel who took part in the mission. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News