BRP Sierra Madre Will Stay in Ayungin, Says Military
The Philippine government has no plans of removing the BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated outpost in Ayungin Shoal, despite China's orders for its removal.
"We are not moving LT-57 or the BRP Sierra Madre, it has been there since 1999. It is a permanent government post manned by our AFP personnel and it is there as a haven for our fishermen who would go to the shoal," Lt. Gen. Andres Centino said in an interview with the Manila Times.
In 1999, the Philippine Navy intentionally ran aground the Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal to protect the Philippines' sovereign rights in the area.
"It is used in monitoring the safety at sea and it is there for us to assert our sovereign rights considering that is within our exclusive economic zone (EEZ)," Centino added.
The Chinese coast guard regularly patrols the area to prevent the resupply missions for Filipino marines stationed on the rusty ship.
In November 2021, Chinese Coast Guard ships harassed and blocked two civilian boats resupplying Philippine marines stationed on Ayungin Shoal.