By Aaron Aquino
The Philippine Navy will be conducting resupply missions for Filipino soldiers stationed at various military detachments at the disputed Kalayaan Group of Islands.
On board, the Philippine landing tank ship BRP Benguet, the Naval Forces West resupply mission is composed of both soldiers and civilian employees and representatives of a government agency and a private firm.
Some of the soldiers are those who will replace the troops stationed in various military detachments at the disputed areas.
“The send-off ceremony was conducted to honor the members of the mission team and the ship crew prior their departure,” said Commodore Sean Anthony Villa, commander of the Naval Forces West.
“Their main mission is to resupply the food and drinking water of the NFW personnel defending the Philippine island detachments in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG),” he added.
The send-off ceremony was held in Puerto Princesa City. The ship is under Lt Cmdr. Rolando Borromeo.
In his speech, Villa asked the soldiers who will replace the Philippine military personnel in various island detachments to be vigilant at all times.
The Philippines is locked in an intense territorial dispute particularly with China which reportedly sent hundreds of ships, some of them boarding Chinese militiamen in areas being occupied by the Philippines.
Recently, reports also disclosed that Chinese poachers have already destroyed coral reefs as big as Quezon City due to illegal harvesting of giant clams.
President Duterte earlier raised the issue on the West Philippine Sea via the United Nations ruling in favor of the Philippines but was told that China does not recognize such decision.
It was learned that some civilians joined the resupply mission to look into the living conditions of Filipino soldiers in areas at the KIG being occupied by Filipino soldiers.
“The Western Command through NFW continues to perform its mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country,” the Naval Forces West said in a statement.
“Thus, it continuously conducts maritime patrols design[ed] to protect the maritime domain and to ensure the safety and well-being of marines and sailors stationed in these far-flung detachments,” it added.