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Filipino sailor recounts how thumb was torn off in South China Sea clash

Jeffrey Facundo was giving evidence to a Senate inquiry into the June 17 incident at Second Thomas Shoal, where Manila has accused China’s coastguard of blocking resupply missions to a Philippine military outpost and boarding a Filipino vessel while wielding knives and an axe.

“They came near us and just rammed us. That’s it. I saw that one of them was carrying what looked like an axe, but the others were carrying long poles with sharp ends,” he said on Tuesday.

Facundo told the hearing he lost his thumb after it became caught when a Chinese boat slammed into his vessel, adding that corals were also hurled at Filipino troops stationed on the Sierra Madre.

He said the Chinese coastguard towed the Filipinos’ boats away from the shoal and seized their belongings, including mobile phones and firearms. His medical evacuation was delayed due to their inflatable boats being intentionally punctured to stop them resupplying and boarding the Sierra Madre, Facundo said.


Chinese and Philippine ships clash in first incident under Beijing’s new coast guard law

Manila has lodged a diplomatic protest over the stand-off and raised the issue with Chinese envoy Huang Xilian, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said on Wednesday.

There were signs that China wanted to lower the temperature in the hotly contested waterway, according to the Southeast Asian nation’s National Security Council, which called on the Marcos administration to be “realistic” when holding talks with Beijing.

Jonathan Malaya, the agency’s spokesman, said official and non-official channels were being used to resolve issues in the disputed waterway, GMA News reported.