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Senators call out China for repeatedly blocking Philippine resupply missions

MANILA, Philippines — Senators have called out Chinese maritime militia’s repeated attempts to block Filipino vessels at every turn in the Philippines’ own waters after a fresh collision with the Chinese Coast Guard derailed another resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in the West Philippine Sea.

In separate statements, senators said that the incident speaks to China’s continued disregard for international law, necessitating a bigger budget to boost the defense capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard and for the Philippines’ “allies” to help patrol the tense waterways.

This comes after the Chinese Coast Guard vessel’s “dangerous blocking maneuvers” caused it to collide with a Philippine resupply boat 13.5 nautical miles east northeast of the grounded warship at Ayungin Shoal on Sunday, according to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

Following the incident, a Chinese maritime militia vessel also “bumped” a PCG vessel approximately 6.4 nautical miles northeast of Ayungin Shoal during the same resupply mission, the task force added.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said that Chinese vessels have “chased, blocked, and harassed” the PCG “every single time” it conducts a supply mission for troops stationed at BRP Sierra Madre, which was intentionally run aground in 1999 to physically demarcate the Philippines' claim to sovereignty over the Spratly islands.

 “China has no right to drive away our troops from our waters. And they have even less right to harm and collide with the Filipino ship that is only doing its job in our own territory,” Hontiveros said in Filipino.

Limited storage on the rusty warship requires the conduct of monthly resupply missions for members of the Philippine Marines stationed there. While China has accused the Philippines of using these missions to secretly transport construction materials to expand the outpost, the Philippines has denied this, asserting that all shipments are exclusively for the purpose of repairing the ship.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri cited the incident as another reason to increase the budget of the PCG and the Armed Forces of the Philippines “to better capacitate them in safeguarding our exclusive