President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. awards SN1 Jeffrey Facundo with the Kampilan Medal of the Order of Lapu-Lapu who was seriously wounded in the June 17 resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. Witnessing the event are Antonio Lagdameo Jr., special assistant to the President of the Philippines, and Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (Photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The group of senior military officers expressed appreciation and support to the members of the rotation and resupply mission team who were harassed by the China Coast Guard and maritime militia on June 17 at the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea where BRP Sierra Madre is grounded.

The Association of General and Flag Officers (AGFO) on Thursday released a statement where they “highly commend the heroic and professional conduct of the Philippine Navy officers and men” who conducted the June 17 mission to relieve personnel and bring food supplies to the Philippine Navy vessel.

“In spite of escalatory actions of China seagoing elements in West Philippine Sea, our navy personnel exercised extreme caution and unequalled patience to successfully complete their mission amidst undue harassment and risk of physical harm,” the statement read.

The incident where CCG and CMM personnel rammed rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) carrying the resupply team resulted in damages to the RHIBs and injuries to the Philippine Navy personnel. Armed with axes, bolos, and knives, the Chinese also forcibly boarded the RHIBs where they threatened the resupply team and destroyed several communication and navigational equipment.

“These recent unwarranted actions of the CCG and CMM personnel are violative of numerous United Nations protocols, piratical, escalatory, and considered unchivalrous in the honorable profession of arms,” AGFO said.

The group likewise expressed support and trust in the government’s stand “to assert our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea and exhorts the Armed Forces of the Philippines in protecting and taking care of our frontline troops.”