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MANILA, Philippines — The emergency medical evacuation of a sick amateur radio enthusiast from Pag-asa Island has been delayed for days after a Chinese naval vessel reportedly harassed a Philippine Air Force patrol flight in the Spratlys on Monday, forcing the cancellation of flights to the disputed territory.
The incident would be the latest in a long string of run-ins over the Spratlys, where China has embarked on an aggressive reclamation and construction spree on disputed islets and reefs, and follows an April 13 incident where a Chinese coast guard vessel fired a water cannon on Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.
Leo Almazan, a member of the ham radio Mabuhay DX Group, which is licensed by the National Telecommunications Commission and whose members are of Filipino ancestry, told InterAksyon.com they had gone to Pag-asa to set up an amateur radio operations and test a portable solar power system in coordination with the Philippine Navy Research and Development Center, as well as conduct a “mini medical mission,” as one of the team members is a doctor from Batangas.
“We arrived April 17 and have been operating there since then,” he said.
The group’s call sign, DX0P, “is to tell not only the amateur radio world but also the rest of the world that Pag-asa is sovereign Philippine territory,” Almazan stressed.
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