PH stands firm on claim over Ayungin Shoal
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines on Tuesday stood firm on its claim over a shoal in the West Philippine Sea that is also being claimed by China.
“We reiterate that it is within our EEZ [exclusive economic zone],” a security official said on Ayungin shoal (Second Thomas Shoal). The source declined to be identified because defense and military officials are not allowed to speak about the issue.
A recent wire report quoted China of warning the Philippines to abandon the disputed shoal, saying that its occupation there was “illegal.”
Early this month, two Filipino vessels that were supposed to deliver supplies for troops assigned to BRP Sierra Madre, a ship that was purposely ran aground in May 1999 to become the Filipinos’ station in Ayungin, were driven away by the Chinese.
“It is but our duty to provide for own troops. These are Filipino settlements,” the security official said.
The Philippines instead air-dropped food and water to soldiers after the incident. A Navy official also said last week that it plans to send civilian ships again to provide supplies to its soldiers in Ayungin.
China did not like the statements and said they were on “high alert” for the Philippines “possibly taking more provocative acts in the West Philippine Sea.”
It also warned the Philippines to accept responsibility for the consequences should they do provocative acts.
“’Wag na nating patulan yan (Let us ignore this),” the security official said when asked if the Philippines was prepared of the consequences that China warned about.
Ayungin Shoal, called by the Chinese as Ren’ai Reef, is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas. It is located 105 nautical miles from Rizal, Palawan, which is well within the 200-nautical mile EEZ.
China also claims Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) off Zambales that is also within the Philippines’ EEZ.
The Philippines has already filed a case before the United Nations permanent court of arbitration to rule on the territorial dispute.
Ayungin Shoal remains part of PH even if troops withdraw
PH shrugs off latest China warning
Philippines won’t give up Ayungin shoal—DFA
Philippines protests Ayungin Shoal incident
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.