Sn1 Jeffrey Facundo, whose right thumb was cut when the Chinese Coast Guard rammed the rigid-hulled inflatable boat he was aboard during the resupply mission last Monday, was awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner at the Artemio Ricarte Station Hospital. (PN photo)

Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) forces were armed with bolos, knives, and spears when they attacked the Filipino troops conducting a rotation and resupply (RORE) mission to BRP Sierra Madre on Monday, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner said.

Brawner said that the Chinese also used bladed weapons to puncture the rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) of the Philippine Navy and destroy their communication and navigational equipment.

He said that what the Chinese did was piracy because they boarded the Philippine resupply boats illegally, threatened the Filipino soldiers with bladed weapons, and used them to damage the equipment.

“This is the first time na nakitaan natin yung CCG na nagdala ng bolo, sibat at mga kutsilyo,” Brawner said in a press conference at the Western Command on Wednesday.

During the confrontation, he said the troops maintained their composure and tried to defend themselves with their bare hands.

“Yung tropa natin ay walang dalang ganun. Yung baril na dala nila were disassembled and naka-gun case because we were transporting them to the LS-57. So wala tayong dalang bladed weapons or whatever,” he said, adding that the Filipino soldiers pushed back the Chinese RHIBs.

“Despite the absence of weapons or certain items to defend themselves, they still fought back. But then again, may limitations po tayo. Number one, we were outnumbered. What happened was kinuyog nila and inipit yung RHIB natin dahil mas marami silang dineploy,” he added.

He further stated that the injured personnel, whose right thumb was mutilated, was at the front part of the RHIB when they were rammed by the CCG, and that when the collision happened, he was holding onto the edge where his hand got hit.

Meanwhile, Wescom chief Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres confirmed that the Chinese “looted” seven firearms from the troops aside from destroying the communication equipment, the outboard motor, and other navigational equipment.

“They even took the personal cellphones of our personnel,” Torres said.

“So our action now is that we are demanding that the Chinese return our rifles and our equipment and we are also demanding them to pay the damages dahil hindi tayo papayag na sisirain lang nila and kunin ang ating kagamitan,” Brawner said.

He said that Monday’s RORE was done to test and improve the operational design for the mission.

“The latest operational design that we implemented was the use of other assets that would be different from the traditional RORE that were conducted previously with the use of the Unaiza Mae,” Torres explained.