The Chinese warship is seen through the window of BRP Cabra on July 13, 2021, within the vicinity of Marie Louise Bank, a part of the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ). | Photo by the PCG.

The Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) drove a Chinese warship away from Marie Louise Bank, which lies 17 nautical miles off the coast of El Nido town, on July 13.

According to a press statement issued on the PCG’s social media account on Monday, its Parola-class patrol vessel drove the Chinese warship, which was flying a People’s Republic of China flag and bearing Chinese insignia, based on information from its command center.

The Chinese warship driven away on July 13 by the PCG’s BRP Cabra. | Photo by Philippine Coast Guard

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“Mahinahong nag-radio challenge ang BRP Cabra habang mino-monitor ang galaw ng nasabing barko gamit ang radar. Lumapit rin ang PCG vessel para mas maaninag ang aktibidad na isinasagawa ng Chinese navy warship sa katubigan,” its statement said. 

“Nang walang matanggap na verbal response, ginamit ng BRP Cabra, sa pangunguna ni Commander Erwin Tolentino, ang Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) para ipahatid ang verbal challenge sa Chinese navy warship,” it added.

After BRP Cabra issued the radio challenge, the Chinese warship made sail and departed the bank.

The statement said further that BRP Cabra followed the warship to ensure it left Marie Louise Bank, which is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

When the Chinese naval vessel’s crew realized the PCG patrol ship was just 500 to 600 yards distant on its trail, they issued a radio transmission requesting that they remain at least two nautical miles away.

“Philippine Coast Guard 4409, this is Chinese Navy Warship 189. Please keep two nautical miles distance from me,” the radio message said.

“Sa kabila nito, nagpatuloy ang mahigpit na pagbabantay ng BRP Cabra sa Chinese navy warship gamit ang ‘Rules on the Use of Force (RUF)’. Ito ay hanggang sa tuluyang nakalabas ng Marie Louise Bank ang nasabing foreign state vessel na tumakbo sa bilis na 9.4 knots,” the PCG said.

The PCG said the course of action the BRP Cabra followed was based on the PCG Manual on the Rules on the Use of Force within the Philippines’ EEZ to ensure a rules-based and peaceful approach to preserving the country’s sovereignty.

The BRP Cabra’s presence in the Kalayaan Islands Group, it said, is part of their mission under Task Force Pagsasanay.

On June 3o, the BRP Cabra also drove away five Chinese sips and two Vietnamese vessels in the said bank.

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