The Inbox

China offers to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin shoal


BRP Sierra Madre

By Ellen Tordesillas

Chinese Foreign Secretary Wang Yi made an offer yesterday during the Asean Regional Forum in Brunei that rendered the articulate Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario speechless.

Del Rosario told reporters that Wang said "Scarborough and Ayungin were theirs, historically, and we were the ones sending ships, interdicting their fishermen, and the grounded ship has been there for so long.”

Wang was referring to BRP Sierra Madre which ran aground at Ayungin Shoal also known as Second Thomas shoal (Ren’ai Reef to the Chinese) in May 1999.

Ayungin Reef is 105.77 nautical miles from Palawan. It is about 21 nautical miles from Mischief Reef, which was occupied by China in 1995.

Del Rosario said he told Wang: “We don't have money to move it.”

Wang, del Rosario said offered “ to do it themselves.”

Asked what was his reply to Wang, del Rosario said: “Nothing.”

Asked what was the reaction of other participants, del Rosario said, “Nothing.”

Founded in 1993, the ASEAN Regional Forum tackles security issues in Asia Pacific Region. It favors preventive diplomacy in solving conflicts among the 27 members which include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Included in the ARF are Asean’s dialogue partners: Australia, Canada, China, Japan, European Union, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and United States.

Also included are Bangladesh, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea,Timor- Leste.

China’s offer shows its determination on the reef which is manned by a small contingent of the Marines. It also explains China’s recent stepped up activities in the area.

Last month, the Western Command monitored a high of 33 Chinese vessels in the area. They reported that at one time, a passing Chinese Maritime Surveillance came as close as three to six nautical miles.

Three CMS stayed prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a diplomatic protest citing “the provocative and illegal presence of the Chinese government ships around Ayungin Shoal” stressing that the shoal “is an integral part of our national territory … constitutes part of the country’s 200-nautical mile continental shelf as provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

China asserted that “Ren’ai Reef… is part of the Chinese territory and, an area over which China proclaims sovereignty and vows never to yield an inch to others.”

China does not recognize the presence of Filipino soldiers in the shoal. Ayungin or Ren’ai Reef is not in their list of eight islets (of the more than 250 in the South China Sea) under the control of the Philippines.

The eight islets that the Chinese acknowledged being occupied by the Philippines are Lawak, Patag, Parola,Pag-asa,Kota, Panata,Rizal, Likas.

A Philippine Navy ship regularly goes to Ayungin shoal to bring supplies to the Marines who are valiantly guarding the shoal. China’s insistence on Ayungin shoal makes that routine trip risky.

Del Rosario said during the ARF ministerial retreat, everybody spoke on the South China Sea, all calling “for peaceful resolution, in accordance with the rule of law, and all of its mechanisms.”

That should lessen the tension in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and hopefully make China reconsider whatever drastic plans they have on Ayungin shoal.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options