The China Coast Guard and its maritime militia vessels failed to prevent the Philippine military and coast guard from conducting the medical evacuation of a Filipino sailor from the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal on Sunday, Commodore Jay Tarriela reported.

Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) national task force, said that despite attempts by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and sea militia boats to obstruct the evacuation of a Philippine Navy personnel, they were not successful.

“The claim made by the People’s Republic of China that they have permitted a medical evacuation for a sick navy personnel, in order to present themselves as humanitarian while asserting their authority to allow such operation to be carried out in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, is ridiculous,” he said.

CCG and its maritime militia vessels, he said, only reinforce the fact that their presence in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is illegal. He also criticized the Chinese government for apparently believing that humanitarian efforts, like medical evacuations, need their approval.

“Evidently, the deployment of numerous boats to delay the medical evacuation for hours just shows that they have a low regard for a humanitarian mission,” Tarriela added.

He said the PCG sent BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) and BRP Cape Engaño (MRRV-4411) to rendezvous with a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) that transported the navy personnel from BRP Sierra Madre. However, they were met by CCG vessels that performed dangerous maneuvers in an attempt to obstruct the mission.

“[But] they remained steadfast to their humanitarian mission and was able to complete the transfer of the sick personnel from the LS-57 RHIB to the PCG RHIB,” Tarriela said in a post in his X account.

“Despite the threatening presence of various CCG small vessels, the PCG RHIB was able to return to the main PCG vessel without further interruption. The sick personnel was then provided with urgent medical attention,” he added.

Tarriela said further that the success of the operation is a proof of the “unwavering bravery, dedication and professionalism of the AFP and PCG as both institutions remain vigilant in their mission.”

The mission was conducted in less than a month after the incident last June 17 where CCG and militia troops also blocked a rotation and reprovision (RoRe) mission to BRP Sierra Madre. The Chinese troops destroyed equipments that included RHIBs, communication and navigational equipments. A navy personnel was also severely injured in the incident.