CATBALOGAN CITY – Ayungin Shoal is within Philippine territory and BRP Sierra Madre must stay there to establish the country’s claim in that area at the disputed West Philippine Sea, thus said Senators JV Ejercito and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

Senators Ejercito and Go made the comment during their visit to this city as guests to the 182nd provincehood anniversary of Samar on August 11.

Earlier, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had made a statement stating that the Philippine government had made a commitment to remove the BRP Sierra Madre at the Ayungin Shoal but President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said that there is no such agreement between the Philippines and China to remove the vessel that was grounded to the shoal since 1999.

The President added that if there is such kind of agreement, he is rescinding.
Sen. Go said that he fully supports what the President said adding that the contested area really belongs to the country.

“Kung ano po yun atin ay atin, what is ours is ours at bilang pangulo, si Pangulong Bongbong Marcos as chief architect of our foreign policy alam niyo po kung ano ang mas nakakabuti sa atin,” Senator Go said.

“Gaya ng sinabi ko noon not a single square inch ang isusurender natin sa China, what is ours is ours, atin po yun, at dapat po ipaglaban po. So huwag nating i-withdraw, dapat huwag talagang i-withdraw yung BRP Sierra Madre,” he added.

The statement of China was released after another incident happened in the West Philippine Sea when Chinese Coast Guard water cannoned a supply vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard for troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre.

This action of the Chinese Coast Guard was described by Sen. Ejercito as bullying.

“Talagang they are just bullying us,” the senator said adding that China’s action against the Philippines is opposite to what they announced that the country is their friend.

Ejercito added that the government must strengthen the capability of its Armed Forces and the Coast Guard by adding more equipment to have a “credible posture,” exhaust all diplomatic means, and forge alliances with other ASEAN countries like South Korea, Japan, and claimants county like Vietnam, and including the United States of America ensure that West Philippine Sea will not totally fall into the hands of China.

“We have to strengthen and forge an alliance to ensure that the flow of navigation in the West Philippines continues kasi pag nahawakan na ng China ito wala ng freedom of navigation,” Ejercito added.

“Our relation should unite against this hostile and aggressive behavior of China, kasi hindi naman kaya ng Pilipinas yun mag-isa lang tayo, kailangan magka-isa ang ASEAN nations,” he added.