PH won’t ‘abandon’ shoal despite Ayungin incident

PH won’t ‘abandon’ shoal despite Ayungin incident

This file photo taken on March 29, 2014 shows a Philippine Navy vessel that has been grounded since 1999 to assert the nation’s sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef also claimed by China. The Philippines on November 18, 2021 accused Chinese Coast Guard vessels of firing water cannon at boats delivering supplies to Filipino military personnel in the disputed South China Sea, and ordered Beijing to “back off”.

THE Philippine government will not abandon its military outpost at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Malacañang said on Friday, after Chinese Coast Guard vessels “blocked and water-cannoned” Philippine supply boats from reaching the disputed area.

In his virtual news briefing, acting Palace spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles said the government will continue to defend the Philippines’ sovereignty and territory.

“We will continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights, our jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal and all other territories within our jurisdiction including our EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” Nograles added.

“We stand by the swift actions of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and we’re confident that the DFA will do whatever is necessary,” he said.

It was on Thursday when Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. bared and condemned this “illegal” action of the Chinese Coast Guard.

According to Locsin, the Philippine boats were on their way to transport food to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal when they were “blocked and water-cannoned” by the foreign vessels.

“China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off,” he said.

“The Philippines will continue to provide supplies to our troops in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal). We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” Locsin added.

When asked if it is an option for the government to abandon its detachment in Ayungin Shoal to avoid confrontation with China, Nograles said, “Walang abandonment na mangyayari d’yan (No abandonment will take place).”

“Patuloy pa rin, itinutuloy namin at gagawin namin ang lahat at ang nararapat para makarating ang mga supplies doon para sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino (We will continue; we will do whatever we can to replenish the supply of our fellow Filipinos there),” he added.

Ayungin Shoal, part of the Kalayaan Island Group, is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Hence, the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal.

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