A screenshot from a video released by the PCG on October 23 reveals the close proximity between their vessel, BRP Cabra, and CMMV 00003, resulting in a collision near Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea early Sunday.

The country remains committed to resupplying BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, despite the provocative incident on Sunday morning when China’s Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels collided with a military-contracted civilian boat and Philippine Coast Guard ship.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año stated that the Philippines will not yield, even in the event of a collision, as the country carries out its regular and routine rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission in Ayungin.

“We will not be deterred and we will continue to resupply our troops in BRP Sierra Madre despite provocations,” he said.

Año expressed this on October 22, upon learning about the collision incidents during the resupply mission to and maintenance of the BRP Sierra Madre, which were legitimate activities within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and compliant with international law.

The National Security Council (NSC) said that earlier on Sunday, two instances of risky maneuvers by China Coast Guard (CCG) and militia vessels led to collisions with civilian resupply boat Unaizah Mae 2 (UM2) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship BRP Cabra (MRRV 4409) near Ayungin.

It said the first incident occurred around 6:04 a.m. when CCG vessel 5203 collided with supply boat UM2 due to the former’s reckless and irresponsible illegal blocking maneuvers against Philippine vessels.

The next incident occurred at 8:14 a.m., when Chinese maritime militia vessel 00003 apparently engaged in coordinated maneuvers to harass, delay, and block Philippine vessels, resulting in a collision with BRP Cabra.

The PCG said the crews of the Philippine vessels involved in the collisions were safe and unharmed.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, who leads the Western Command (WESCOM), also emphasized that the resupply missions to Ayungin have consistently followed a regular and routine schedule.

“Through the years, our resupply sorties have always been regular and routinary. Our sailors have met Chinese vessels’ dangerous maneuvers with utmost patience, competence, and professionalism to avoid any accidents or untoward incidents,” Carlos said.

He said the mood and morale of the personnel under his command are “resolute in exercising the mandate of protecting” the country’s “maritime territory and delivering the needed supplies in Ayungin Shoal.”

“We remain determined to secure our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and our jurisdiction. Your WESCOM is undaunted,“ he said.

Both his and Año’s statements contradicted the assertion made by CCG spokesperson Gan Yu, who claimed that UM2 and BRP Cabra had trespassed in Ren’ai Reef, the Chinese designation for Ayungin Shoal.

Gan stated that the Philippine vessels ignored their repeated attempts to discourage and warn them. He claimed that they persisted in entering the nearby waters of Ren’ai Reef in the Nansha Islands without permission, with the intention of unlawfully delivering construction materials to the grounded warship.

Meanwhile, newly appointed PCG commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan hailed the importance of the recent resupply mission’s success, although partial.

He said it demonstrated the Armed Force of the Philippines and PCG’s “capability to manage and overcome provocative, irresponsible, and reckless conduct from their Chinese counterparts in a professional and resolute manner, without escalating tensions.”

He called upon the CCG to abide by the maritime safety regulations outlined in UNCLOS and the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) in 1972, as this would help ensure the safety of all parties involved, preventing any regrettable incidents that could jeopardize lives.