PH boats in WPS collisions brought materials to fix BRP Sierra Madre - AFP | Global News

PH boats in WPS collisions brought materials to fix BRP Sierra Madre – AFP

/ 04:16 PM October 23, 2023

DND: China's move in WPS a 'serious escalation of illegal activities'

This image released by Armed Forces of the Philippines shows a Chinese militia vessel (top) near Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Cabra as it approaches Second Thomas Shoal, locally called Ayungin Shoal, in the disputed areas of South China Sea on Sunday, October 22, 2023. (Armed Forces of the Philippines via AP)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine vessels that were involved in the latest rotation and resupply mission brought materials for the repair and maintenance of BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar gave the information in response to questions during a press conference with Department of Foreign Affairs in Quezon city on Monday.


“On the materials, it’s just to maintain and repair that facility, that vessel,” Aguilar said.


“No need to enumerate any specifics… Just to assure everybody that it’s for the upkeep of the vessel,” he told reporters.

On Sunday, Chinese ships hit a resupply boat contracted by AFP and a Philippine Coast Guard ship, causing damage to the two vessels bound for BRP Sierra Madre.

BRP Sierra Madre is a commissioned Philippine Navy ship.

It is a grounded World War II-era boat that has hosted a small contingent of military personnel since 1999.

The soldiers’ presence in the area asserts Philippines’ claim on Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation about 194 kilometers (105 nautical miles) off Palawan.

The place is well within the country’s exclusive economic zone in West Philippine Sea (WPS).


However, Beijing is asserting it supposedly owns most parts of South China Sea — including WPS.

It previously drew a ten-dash line, which used to be a nine-dash line, for this purpose.

But China’s claim was dismissed by an international tribunal in 2016.

China disregarded the landmark ruling, saying Philippine vessels are “trespassing” on what they believe are its territory.

Beijing is now saying its vessels blocked the Philippine ships this weekend because the boats were allegedly bringing “illegal” construction materials to BRP Sierra Madre.

Aguilar, however, stressed even if the Philippine fleet brings construction materials to BRP Sierra Madre, Philippines has every right to rehabilitate the ship.

“BRP Sierra Madre is our vessel and it is within our rights to repair it, to make sure that it is habitable for our troops …” he said.


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TAGS: AFP, Ayungin Shoal, PCG, WPS

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