China has no right to tell us not to repair BRP Sierra Madre, says Brawner
MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday asserted China has no right to oppose the repair of BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal in West Philippine Sea (WPS).
According to AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr., Philippines is well within its right to rehabilitate the Philippine Navy boat.
BRP Sierra Madre serves as a Philippine outpost in the area.
“Sa ’kin lang, I really believe that we have the right to repair the ship because that is a Philippine commissioned Navy ship,” said Brawner in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
(For me, I really believe that we have the right to repair the ship because it is a Philippine-commissioned Navy ship.)
“Kahit andoon siya sa Ayungin Shoal, karapatan natin na ayusin,” he explained.
(Even if it is in Ayungin Shoal, we have the right to repair it.)
“So, for me, China has no right to tell us not to repair that while they themselves have created these artificial islands,” the Chief of Staff said.
Brawner pointed out an apparent “imbalance” between the two nations.
He said China had gone as far as installing missile systems on its man-made islands, yet it had the audacity to obstruct the Philippines from conducting repairs within the Philippine territory.
“Hindi naman tayo nakialam. Hindi naman natin sinabing ‘don’t do that.’ Hindi naman natin sinabing ‘don’t bring missile systems into these artificial islands,'” he said.
(We did not interfere. We didn’t say, ‘don’t do that.’ We didn’t say, ‘don’t bring missile systems into these artificial islands.’)
“Sila ngayon, kinalampag. Napakalaking imbalance,” he observed.
(Now they’re being rattled. Huge imbalance.)
Brawner said China is harassing resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre because it wants to take over Ayungin Shoal.
Chinese vessels hit an AFP-contracted resupply boat and a Philippine Coast Guard ship in WPS on Sunday morning.