MANILA - The Ayungin mission last March 29 wasn't meant to just resupply troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.
It was a statement the Philippines wanted to make to China and the world, DND Spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said.
Asked what the message was, he said: “Tropa natin yon. It's our people, and we take care of our people. And it's our territory. We take care of our people, and we take care of our country."
China earlier reiterated that they would not let any nation intimidate them into backing down in the West Philippine Sea dispute.
To this, Galvez said: "They should be more circumspect regarding delivering statements such as those."
The civilian vessel used by Philippine Marines outmaneuvered bigger Chinese vessels weeks ago, allowing them to resupply the food and water needs of troops guarding the country’s interests in the Ayungin Shoal.
On March 30, the country submitted its written arguments before an arbitral tribunal defending its jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea.