Lorenzana to China: You can’t stop us from repairing BRP Sierra Madre
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said China could not stop the country from repairing the BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned ship that serves as a military station in Ayungin Shoal in Kalayaan Group of Islands.
This, after the repeated warnings from the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) to the Philippine side not to bring construction materials for the decrepit World War II-vintage landing ship tank.
Lorenzana said he has talked with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian about the matter.
“Sabi ko, [I told him] your people cannot do that,” Lorenzana said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, referring to the Chinese Ambassador.
“We have supplied that detachment for the past, 1998 pa yan eh, more than 20 years na (already)… So you cannot prevent us from repairing that,” Lorenzana added, saying the country will continue to bring supplies to the ship.
The defense chief also pointed out that the BRP Sierra Madre has not been decommissioned or pulled out of service yet.
“We have to maintain, in a way, the ship kasi di pa nadecomission yan (it has not been decommissioned yet). It is still part of the Philippine Navy,” the Defense chief said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the CCG made a call to two Filipino boats not to bring construction materials for BRP Sierra Madre during the Philippine military’s rotation and resupply (RORE) mission last week.
The CCG has also deployed at least two ships that sail around and guard Ayungin Shoal, warning Filipino supply boats against carrying construction materials to repair BRP Sierra Madre.