Padilla to PCG: Can you resupply BRP Sierra Madre sans US help?
MANILA, Philippines — Can the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) successfully conduct resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal without the help of the United States?
On Tuesday, Senator Robin Padilla posed this question during a joint hearing by Senate committees on national defense and security, unification and reconciliation, foreign relations, public works and finance.
The senator is referring to the deployment of an aircraft by the US Navy when PCG led a convoy of vessels that went on a resupply mission on September 8.
“Ang sinasabi ko lamang po at gusto ko lang malinawan ng lahat, inaamin na ba natin na kailangan na natin ng [mga] Amerikano dyan?”
(What I’m saying and trying to clear out is that are we admitting that we need the help of Americans there?)
In response, Defense Undersecretary for Strategic Assessments and Planning Ignacio Madriaga pointed to the bravery of PCG, the Philippine Navy, as well as the civilian personnel in the convoy as the reason why the trip was successful.
“Ang presensya ng Amerikano doon ay tulong lang sa maritime domain awareness at para may eye [in] the sky na nanonood ng pangyayari,” Madriaga said.
(The American presence there was only an aid to maritime domain awareness and to have an eye in the sky watching the event.)
“Wala tayong inaamin at hindi po tayo aamin na hindi natin kaya ang trabaho. We are not admitting that we are not capable of the job,” he explained.
(We are not admitting and will not admit that we are incapable of doing the job.)
“May Amerikano o sinong ibang bansa, kaya ng Philippine Navy. Kaya ng Philippine Coast Guard po ‘yan at hindi po tayo susuko dyan,” he clarified.
(Whether or not there are Americans or any other country, the Philippine Navy can do it. Philippine Coast Guard can do it, and we will not surrender.)
“May Amerikano o wala, hindi tayo aamin na hindi natin kaya. Kakayanin po natin [ang resupply mission] kahit ano ang gamit natin,” said Madriaga.
(Whether there are Americans or not, we will not admit we cannot do it. We can accomplish [the resupply mission] whatever equipment we are using.)
In the hearing, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri acknowledged the country needs the assistance of its allies, including the US, “whether we like it or not.”
“Personally, in my opinion, [I] welcome the fact that the US, in every discussion and every [forum], has said that they will stand by the Philippines [whatever happens],” said the Senate leader.