Ayungin Shoal: No confrontations reported

19 June 2013

Manila, Philippines -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has completed the troop rotation and re-supplying of provision to troops in Ayungin Shoal without interference from the Chinese.

This, as the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed that two Chinese vessels were still in the vicinity of the Ayungin Shoal, located 120 nautical miles from Rizal town in Palawan.

"How concerned are we? For us, as long as it is non-confrontational, as long as there is no hampering of our movements, there is no problem. They allow freedom of navigation, ours is to show the flag in our territory. Ours is to protect our interest," Bautista told newsmen. "We perform our routinary activities not just in Ayungin but also in other islands," he added.

"We have rotated, we do it periodically... and we are resupplying them also. There is no aggressive move as of yet but we'll see what their presence is," Bautista said.

China earlier expressed concern over the continuous presence of a Philippine Navy (PN) ship in the area, referring to the BRP Sierra Madre that ran aground at the shoal on 1999 and is now being used as barracks by elements of the Philippine Marines.

Bautista, however, vowed that the AFP will continue its routinary activities within the country's territories and fly the National flag.