The sole purpose of the resupply mission on June 17 was to deliver essential goods to troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal and to rotate personnel, not to seek armed aggression, National Task Force on West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) spokesperson Commo. Jay Tarriela said.

The China Coast Guard (CCG) and maritime militia, on the other hand, wanted to stop the resupply mission, he said.

“Walang intensiyon ang kahit na sino mang bansa na magkaroon ng malawakang armed aggression sa insidente na ‘to,” Tarriela said in a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday, referring to Monday’s incident where CCG personnel blocked and hounded Philippine Navy troops conducting the mission while wielding bolos and axes, resulting in damages to the navy’s rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) and injuring troops.

Tarriela said the explanation was not in his capacity as Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson, but he was tasked by the chairman of the National Task Force WPS to give clarification on the last briefing conducted by the National Maritime Council on Friday.

During the briefing, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, who chairs the NMC, said the latest incident cannot be classified as an armed attack but “probably [just] a misunderstanding or an accident.”

Bersamin likewise said the council agreed upon policy recommendations, which were submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his consideration, that the next rotation and reprovision (RoRe) missions be publicized and conducted on a regular schedule.

Tarriela explained that RoRe missions to the BRP Sierra Madre will continue regularly, asserting that these operations are legitimate actions of the Philippine government within its exclusive economic zone.

He likewise labeled the June 17 incident as the “most condemning” action yet of CCG.