SEVERAL countries have expressed their support for the Philippines, calling out China's 'dangerous' actions in the West Philippine Sea, as the Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), filed another diplomatic protest.The diplomatic protest filed on Friday stemmed from China's using a water cannon against a Philippine boat that was on a resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal earlier in the day.Media personnel film a presentation of the five Philippine rigid-hauled inflatable boats being shadowed by China Coast Guard ships during the press conference about the recent resupply mission at the Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea, at a hotel in Manila on November 11, 2023. The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard on November 10, 2023 of 'dangerous harassment' of Filipino boats in the disputed South China Sea, including firing a water cannon and blocking vessels on a resupply mission. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)'The DFA has also reached out to them and conveyed our protest directly through the Maritime Mechanism. We firmly insist that Chinese vessels responsible for these illegal activities leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal immediately,' the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said.'We condemn, once again, China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal that has put the lives of our people at risk. The systematic and consistent manner in which the People's Republic of China carries out these illegal and irresponsible actions puts into question and significant doubt the sincerity of its calls for peaceful dialogue,' it added.In a statement on Friday, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu called for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to be respected.'Australia is again concerned by dangerous conduct, including the use of water cannons, by China's vessels in the Philippines' EEZ (exclusive economic zone). Upholding international law, especially Unclos is fundamental to international peace and security,' she said.US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson also chastised the 'continued PRC (People's Republic of China's) harassment' and reiterated that Washington D.C. would stand by Manila for a 'free and open Indo-Pacific.''Despite continued PRC harassment, the Philippines successfully and lawfully resupplied its forces on the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal, located wholly within the Philippine EEZ. [The US and the Philippines] stand together as friends, partners, allies for a free and open Indo-Pacific,' she said.The envoys of Japan and the United Kingdom in Manila also echoed opposition to actions that increase tensions and undermine peace in the area.'We give high importance to a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law as Japan, [the] Philippines discussed during PM (Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's) visit last week. Any harassment and actions which increase tensions are not tolerated,' Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa said.UK Ambassador Laure Beaufils said, '[The UK] notes unsafe conduct again experienced by Philippine vessels on their resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal. We join the Philippines in calling out actions that undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea.'We are committed to Unclos, under which the 2016 Arbitral Award is final and legally binding on both parties,' she added.The European Union, the Netherlands and Germany likewise underscored their support for international law, specifically the Unclos and the 2016 Arbitral Award.German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke also reposted the November 10 report of the NTF-WPS on the latest resupply and rotation mission.'In view of today's (Friday) event in the South China Sea, Germany reiterates its support for the Philippines in advocating respect for international law in the South China Sea as an essential pillar for peace and security,' he said.French Ambassador Mariel Fontanel said she personally reaffirmed France's 'continuous support' to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) during her meeting with its commandant, Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan, and hailed the 'eventually successful' resupply mission.The Philippines protested the latest incident, bringing the number of diplomatic protests filed against China since the start of the Marcos Jr. administration to 125.UndeterredIn response, the China Coast Guard (CCG) said it would 'continue to carry out law enforcement activities' near the Ayungin Shoal, repeating Beijing's territorial claim over the feature and the entire Spratlys.The incident involved CCG vessel 5203, which used a water cannon against Philippine supply vessel ML Kalayaan to alter its course.Supply boats Unaizah Mae 1 and ML Kalayaan were also 'subjected to extreme reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity' by CCG rigid-hull inflatable boats inside the Ayungin Shoal lagoon during their approach to BRP Sierra Madre, the NTF-WPS said.PH senators reactA day after the incident, Philippine senators, led by Senate President Juan Miguel 'Migz' Zubiri, expressed their condemnation of China's latest water cannon attack.'I register my strong condemnation against the recent attack perpetrated by Chinese ships on Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in its outpost in Ayungin Shoal,' said Zubiri in a statement on Saturday.President Pro Tempore Lorna Regina 'Loren' Legarda said contrary to the claim of the Chinese, the Philippine vessels and troops were not 'trespassing' the area since the Chinese were leaning toward a flawed 'nine-dash line' doctrine that has long been deemed false by the July 2016 arbitral ruling.'The Philippines takes every opportunity to assert the significance and importance of the 2016 Arbitral Award in bilateral and multilateral fora. Our country is consistent that the Unclos and Award are twin anchors of its actions and its policy in the West Philippine Sea,' she added.Sen. Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, the chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, said that the Philippine government should seriously consider heeding the adopted Senate Resolution 79, which recommends several courses of action, one of which is the filing of a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly to call for the cessation of all activities that harass Philippine vessels and violate our established rights in the West Philippine Sea.'In a show of solidarity, my colleagues and I crossed party lines in unanimously passing this resolution, which calls out China for its repeated incursions in the WPS and incessant harassment of Filipino fishermen, patrol vessels, and resupply mission teams,' Estrada said in a statement.Sen. Ana Theresia 'Risa' Hontiveros said that it is unfortunate that while this recent incident is alarming, it is not entirely surprising. This pattern of abuse is one that China has mastered and will continue to follow without remorse.Hontiveros cited the need to upgrade the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy to maneuver past the Chinese blockade.Substantial achievementsMeanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) reported substantial achievements in its ongoing efforts to bolster national security and safeguard the country's territorial integrity and stability, particularly in volatile areas of the West Philippine Sea.During the third quarter of the year, from July to September, Lt. Gen. Fernyl Buca of the Philippine Air Force and Nolcom commander reported that they were able to challenge a total of 14,571 vessels during the 18 air patrols and eight surface patrols that their troops conducted in maritime areas in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), the uncontested Philippine (Benham) Rise and the Batanes Strait.These were made possible by their monitoring detachments strategically positioned in Bani, Zambales; Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Batan and Mavulis, both in Batanes.The regular patrol in the critical areas of interest also enabled the ships to provide enhanced maritime situational awareness that can be a factor in planning, decision-making and future deployment.The Nolcom commander said they would continue to launch maritime patrols (MarPat) in collaboration with key government agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to ensure the safety of Filipinos, especially the fishermen and protect the country's marine resources.Buca emphasized a strategic shift toward Territorial Defense Operations and underscored the need for adaptability by enhancing readiness, intelligence capabilities, collaboration with allies, and upgrading logistical capabilities.