‘More than rusting WWII ship’: Escudero urges DND to build permanent structure in Ayungin
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant and Sorsogon governor Chiz Escudero urged the Department of National Defense (DND) to build permanent structures on Ayungin Shoal in a bid to strengthen the government’s presence in the territory amid aggressive attacks from China.
“The Philippine government needs more than a rusting World War II-era ship to stand as the symbol of its sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea,” Escudero pointed out, saying the country should invest in a more functional permanent structure to serve its military outpost.
Escudero was referring to The BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned Philippine Naval vessel that hosted a small contingent of military personnel to assert Manila’s claim to the disputed waters since 1999.
The Chinese Coast Guard had earlier attacked two civilian supply boats delivering food for the Marine personnel stationed on BRP Sierra Madre, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
China, who also claims Ayungin Shoal and refers to it as Ren’ai Jiao, is demanding the removal of the Philippines’ grounded ship to the area.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte expressed ‘abhorrence’ on the said incident.
Escudero urged the DND to include the building of “sustainable and dignified” permanent structures in the said area as part of their modernization project.
“The law is very clear on this: the modernization fund is there precisely to equip and empower our military to defend our sovereignty. And nowhere is that more needed than in the West Philippine Sea,” Escudero added.
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