Ayungin Shoal lodging facility for soldiers, fishermen eyed
MANILA, Philippines — A lodging facility in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal for the benefit of Filipino soldiers and fishermen of any nationality who may be in need of shelter or sanctuary is being proposed by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero,
Escudero, in a plenary session on Tuesday, said he will join the Senate deliberations on the proposed 2024 national budget to push for the allocation of at least P100 million for the construction of a “shelter” or a “lodging facility” in Ayungin Shoal.
“As I have stated, I will be proposing in the deliberations of the national budget that we allocate at least P100 million for the construction of facilities in that area. Not a military base but a shelter — a lodging facility, not only for our soldiers but also for fishermen, whatever their nationality may be, who may be facing rough waters in that part of the sea, and they may find shelter there,” said Escudero in his privilege speech.
“[S]o that we can finally replace the BRP Sierra Madre and have suitable accommodation, again, not only for our soldiers but for fishermen of any nationality that may need shelter and sanctuary,” he added.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, chairperson of the Senate committee on national defense and security, peace, unification, and reconciliation, said he fully supports Escudero’s proposal, but he stressed that P100 million might not be sufficient to build a shelter in the territory.
In the same plenary session, Estrada maintained that his father — former President Joseph Estrada — did not promise to tow away the grounded BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.