(PN file photo)

Chinese troops intercepted and foiled a Philippine mission to deliver supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre outpost in Ayungin Shoal on Monday, overpowering one of the rubber boats manned by military personnel and confiscating the crew’s firearms.

The source said a Filipino naval personnel, a member of the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG), was injured during the confrontation, losing one of his fingers. Several others were also wounded.

According to the source, the rotation and resupply (RORE) mission involved six Philippine vessels tasked with delivering supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre outpost on Ayungin Shoal.

None of the Philippine vessels managed to reach Ayungin Shoal due to the interception. Chinese forces reportedly targeted all the mission vessels, including rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs), puncturing them and rendering them immobile.

Chinese forces also confiscated eight weapons from Filipino troops aboard one of the RHIBs they boarded.

“Many of the troops were injured, including one NAVSOG soldier, naputol ang daliri because of this. Yong RHIB ng Pinas binutas butas ng China. Some, eight to be exact, weapons were confiscated by China,” the source said.

“Sumampa ang Chinese sa vessel ng Pinas, then agawan [ng] baril then binunggo, kaya na out of balance ang tropa kaya naipit at naputol [ang daliri],” the source said. Aside from the NAVSOG who was “severely injured,” seven also sustained injuries.

Another AFP vessel, referred to as the “main vessel” by the source, was also rammed and towed after being surrounded by Chinese vessels on all sides and taken far away to hinder rescue efforts.

The area was secured around 4 p.m. yesterday, June 17, stated the source. While some personnel returned, others remained. Plans were made for their return this morning, June 18, but their current status remains unknown.

The source expressed frustration that, despite the gravity of the incident, the Philippine government has kept mum on the incident.

The Department of National Defense (DND) has not provided details on how the collision occurred but has criticized China’s version of events as “deceptive and misleading.”

“It should now be clear to the international community that China’s actions are the true obstacles to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” DND Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. stated.

The confrontation occurred following China’s recent implementation of a law authorizing CCG vessels to use lethal force to assert control over the entire South China Sea, which it claims as its territory.

The recently announced CCG No. 3 rule by China, effective since June 15, grants Chinese coast guard commanders the authority to seize foreign vessels and individuals trespassing on the boundaries claimed by China in the South China Sea.

“The regulations are rolled out by China Coast Guard to enforce China’s Coast Guard Law, standardize the administrative law-enforcement procedures of Coast Guard agencies and better uphold order at sea. It is consistent with universal practices,” Chine foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said.

Yesterday’s incident at Ayungin marks the third time Philippine personnel have been injured by Chinese forces blocking resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre. Ayungin is a geographic feature in the Philippine territory that has been a recurring location of conflicts with China, often resulting in injuries to resupply mission crew members.

AFP Chief of Staff Romeo Brawner Jr., the source said, is scheduled to visit anytime because of the incident.