MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has denounced China’s demand for the Philippine government to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal.
In a statement released Thursday (November 25), Poe underscored that the 2016 arbitral ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration “declared that Ayungin Shoal belongs to the Philippines and is well within our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.”
“China has no right to dictate what we can do within our waters,” Poe reiterated.
“Its recent statement telling us to remove BRP Sierra Madre from the shoal is another display of utter arrogance and aggression that we must not take sitting down,” she added.
Poe urged the government to step up its efforts in addressing the issue in addition to the diplomatic protests that the Department of Foreign Affairs has filed against China.
“Aside from diplomatic protests, the government should step up efforts in rallying our neighbors to form a united front against China in the South China Sea,” Poe said.
“Time and again, several nations have stood by us and shared our goal of ensuring peace, stability, and harmony,” the lawmaker added.
Poe stressed that every country must always act in deference to the sovereignty of others.
“Mutual respect must always be the cornerstone of our relationship with any nation,” Poe said.
On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian demanded that the Philippines must remove the grounded BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, saying it should “honor its commitment.”
“China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its grounded vessel on Ren’ai Jiao (Ayungin Shoal),” the Chinese official said in a briefing. “This position remains unchanged.” —/mbmf