MANILA – A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol ship has successfully chased away a Chinese Navy warship from the Marie Louise Bank located 147 nautical miles from the shores of El Nido, Palawan.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the PCG said BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) monitored a “navy warship” with People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag and marked with Chinese character on July 13 in Marie Louise Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
It said the BRP Cabra “calmly” sent a radio challenge to the navy warship while monitoring the ship’s movement using its radar.
“Lumapit rin ang PCG vessel para mas maaninag ang aktibidad na isinasagawa ng Chinese Navy warship sa katubigan (The PCG vessel moved closer to better see the activities of the Chinese Navy warship),” the PCG said.
The PCG said BRP Cabra, led by Commander Erwin Tolentino, did not receive a verbal response, prompting it to used its Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to issue a verbal challenge to the Chinese warship.
“Matapos nito, nagsimulang gumalaw ang barko palabas ng Marie Louise Bank. Sinundan ito ng BRP Cabra para masigurong lilisanin nito ang nasabing katubigan na bahagi ng exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas (After which, the vessel began moving away from the Marie Louise Bank. It was followed by BRP Cabra to ensure that the ship leaves the Philippines’ EEZ),” the PCG said.
When the PCG ship was about 500 to 600 yards away from the Chinese warship, it sent a radio message to BRP Cabra to keep a two-nautical mile distance.
“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 (Despite the warning, the BRP Cabra continued its strict monitoring of the Chinese warship using its RUF until the foreign state vessel left the Marie Louise bank while running at 9.4 knots),” the PCG said.
It noted that all actions by the BRP Cabra followed the “PCG manual on rules on the use of force within the Philippines’ EEZ” to ensure a “rules-based peaceful approach” in enforcing the country’s sovereignty and protecting its borders.
The PCG said BRP Cabra’s patrol at the Marie Louise Bank and the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan is part of its mission under “Task Force Pagsasanay.”
The task force was launched by PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. on April 6 to help ensure the health and safety of Filipino fishermen around the Philippines’ EEZ and in the West Philippines Sea.
In his regular press briefing on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque congratulated the BRP Cabra crew for their heroic act.
“Congratulations po sa ating magigiting na PCG (to our PCG heroes)! I’m sure in due course, you will be given the proper recognition that you deserved. Saludo po kami sa inyo (We salute you)!” Roque said.
On June 30, BRP Cabra chased away five Chinese ships and two Vietnamese vessels that were found inside the Marie Louise Bank. (PNA)