BRP Sierra Madre refurbishment covered by AFP modernization program–Nograles

Published November 26, 2021, 3:07 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Malacañang hasn’t closed its doors to the possible refurbishment of the dilapidated BRP Sierra Madre, which has served as the Philippines’ outpost in Ayungin Shoal for over two decades.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Karlo Nograles’s Facebook)

This can be gleaned from the statement of Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles Friday, Nov. 26 during a virtual press conference.

According to him, the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ongoing.

“Patuloy naman tayo sa pag-iimplement natin ng ating AFP modernization. So sa patuloy nating pag-iimplement ng ating AFP modernization, kasama po dyan ang ating naval assets (We continue to implement the AFP modernization. Our naval assets is covered by the AFP modernization),” Nograles said.

The Cabinet Secretary gave these remarks in reaction to presidential aspirant, Senator :Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson’s suggestion Thursday for the government to “refurbish and reinforce” BRP Sierra Madre.

Acquired by the Philippines in 1976, World War II-era vessel that the Philippine Navy intentionally ran aground in Ayungin in 1999. It has since served as a detachment for Filipino marines, who maintain military presence there.

Ayungin recently grabbed headlines after Chinese Coast Guard vessels tried to stop the Philippines’ resupply mission for its troops stationed there. China has a claim over the shoal and much of the South China Sea, which include the West Philippine Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has protested the incident.

Referring to Ayungin, Nograles reiterated: “Napakaliwanag po na kabilang po yan sa ating (It’s very clear that it’s part of our) EEZ (exclusive economic zone), kabilang po yan sa ating teritoryo at (it’s part of our territory and) we will fully exercise are sovereign rights over our territory.”

The resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre has since been successfully carried out.