Sources said the Marines at Ayungin Shoal have been pulled out from the grounded BRP Sierra Madrea nd another unit of the Philippine Navy took over their maritime and territorial duties at the shoal.
“The Marines are no longer guarding Ayungin Shoal as their deployment to the area has already been transferred to a special unit of the Philippine Navy,” said the source.
But he pointed out that the pullout of Marines was only made in Ayungin Shoal since the Marine Battalion Team-12 (MBLT-12) remains key to securing and guarding the country’s maritime sovereign rights in the entire Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).
China has been trying to dislodge the Marines from Ayungin by deploying Chinese coast guard vessels around the area to block the Western Command’s routine food resupply and troop rotation operations.
A member of the Philippine Naval Special Operations Group poses for photographers beside the Philippine Navy Agusta Westland 109 Naval Helicopter.