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South China Sea: medals for Filipino troops who fought Chinese coastguards with axes bare-handed

“I salute the 80 officers and troops who sailed the waters and exercised the greatest restraint amid intense provocation,” he said, adding: “You demonstrated to the world that the Filipino spirit is one that is brave, determined, and yet is compassionate.”

The newspaper reported that 79 Filipino soldiers received the Kamagi Medal, with Seaman First Class Underwater Operator Jeffrey Facundo receiving the Kampilan Medal, an award given to individuals who are “seriously” wounded or injured.

Two days after the incident, the Philippines also released a video that it said showed China Coast Guard personnel wielding an axe, flinging rocks, and slashing boats with “bladed and pointed weapons.”

He said that the clash resulted in injuries and one soldier losing a thumb.

Brawner described the incident as “a blatant violation of international maritime law, Philippine sovereignty, and sovereign rights.”


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

But China has defended the move, with China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian saying it acted in accordance with the law.

However, this latest move by the Philippines is unlikely to calm tensions in the contested waters, and is likely to be seen as a further provocation by China.

“As we award these medals, we remember that on June 17, we made a conscious and deliberate choice to remain in the path of peace,” Marcos Jnr said when bestowing the medals, the Manila Bulletin reported.

Sari Arho Havrén, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute specialising in China’s foreign relations, said that China wants to change the status quo in the waters “by force” and aims to “exhaust” neighbouring countries into giving in to its territorial