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AFP brass at Ayungin Shoal: ‘West Philippine Sea, atin ‘to!’

Top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday reiterated ownership of the West Philippine Sea, on board the BRP Sierra Madre which was ran aground along the Ayungin Shoal.

“West Philippine Sea, atin ‘to (this is ours)!” exclaimed AFP Chief of Staff, General Romeo Brawner Jr. and Western Command commander, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, and the military detachment stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) as seen on videos on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

This comes after the top officials personally witnessed China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels fire water cannons at Philippine vessels during a regular rotation and resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) on Sunday morning, causing serious damage to M/L Kalayaan.

National Task Force-West Philippine Sea reported the incident as “harassment” and “dangerous maneuvers” which disabled the vessel and seriously endangered the lives of the crew.

Brawner and Carlos also held a boodle fight with the marines and sailors assigned to the Sierra Madre, which is now at the center of tensions between China and the Philippines.

To recall, the Philippines in 2013 challenged China over its claims on the West Philippine Sea, where Manila scored a victory and a landmark ruling by an international tribunal which invalidated Beijing’s claims.

Beijing has refused to acknowledge the ruling, with a number of its vessels spotted in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal inside Philippine territory, as earlier reported by the Western Command.


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last November told Chinese officials to uphold international law, and follow the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding areas of the South China Sea.—RF, GMA Integrated News