by Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – The Philippines will continue asserting its rights in the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea through frequent resupply missions, a military official said Monday.
“Whether we do it more often now or not, again these activities are just in exercise of our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the area, wala namang karapatan ang sinuman na makialam sa ating ginagawa (no one has the right to interfere on what we are doing),” AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.
Asked why the Philippine Coast Guard’s largest ship, the BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) joined the Nov. 10 rotation and resupply (RORE) mission for the first time, Aguilar said the country is just “exercising its sovereign rights and jurisdictions in its maritime zones”.
Aguilar also thanked the country’s legislators for making sure that BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57) in Ayungin Shoal is maintained.
“We are thankful to our legislators that are now voluntarily or making initiative to make sure that we maintain our vessel there at the Ayungin Shoal which is the RP Sierra Madre and we will just continue to do that, we will continue to maintain it so that there will be a habitable place for our Navy personnel deployed there,” he said.
Aguilar earlier said what the Philippines is doing is legal and peaceful and the AFP will continue to supply information detailing China’s hostile moves in the areas for the filling of diplomatic protests.
He said this seeks to remind China that Ayungin Shoal is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and their presence is “illegal and what they are doing there is actually dangerous and irresponsible.” (PNA)