AFP speaks on reported firing incident in West Philippine Sea

The Armed Forces of the Philippines released its official statement regarding the reported incident involving a Philippine Air Force patrol aircraft. Media reports said that evacuating a sick amateur radio enthusiast from Pagasa Island in West Philippine Sea was delayed after a Chinese warship fired an illumination round.

“We strongly deny that any of our military planes was fired upon by a Chinese vessel while flying to Pag-asa Island to pick a patient,” the AFP said in a press statement. “Firing incident in the West Philippine Sea is a serious matter that must not be subject to malicious rumors.”

However, the military confirmed that a Western Command Nomad scheduled to pick up a patient named Chito Pastor from Pag-asa Island today but “they were not able to provide air assets due to technical problems.” A Piper 30 civilian plane was then tasked to evacuate the patient.

“He was successfully evacuated to Puerto Princesa City at 1:00 p.m. today,” AFP said.

The said patient was suffering due to kidney problem after drinking highly saline water after his group’s water ran out, Interaksyon.com reports. Ham radio Mabuhay DX Group has been in Pagasa Island since April 17 to set up and operate an amateur radio. The group is in the said island “to tell not only the amateur radio world but also the rest of the world that Pag-asa is sovereign Philippine territory,” said Leo Almazan, a Mabuhay DX Group member.