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Chinese Embassy stands firm that PH vowed to remove BRP Sierra Madre
Chinese Embassy stands firm that PH vowed to remove BRP Sierra Madre
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Chinese Embassy stands firm that PH vowed to remove BRP Sierra Madre
by Ellicia Del Mundo15 August 2023
Photo courtesy: PCG Facebook page

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Monday remained firm that the Philippines did promised to China to remove the grounded military ship BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission Zhou Zhiyong said that the country made "an explicit commitment" to China which requested to tow away the vessel in 1999.

"It has been 24 years and the Philippine side is yet to honor its commitment," he said.

"The Chinese side, however, has always exerted that utmost restraint with a view to maintaining relations with the Philippines and safeguarding regional peace and stability," Zhiyong added.

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The Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission also claimed that the country has not yet responded to China's suggestion to discuss "measures to strengthen the management" of the Ren'ai Reef or Ayungin Shoal earlier this year.

"We are still waiting for the formal response from the Philippine side," he said.

In a column for the newspaper Manila Times, former Presidential Spokesperson Robert 'Bobby' Tiglao claimed that it was former President Joseph 'Erap' Estrada who made the promise to the People's Republic of China to remove the military ship BRP Sierra Madre.

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However, Tiglao's column was immediately debunked by his sons, Senators Joseph Victor 'JV' Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada.

In an interview, Ejercito said that this claim was "very inconsistent".

"Common sense tell us that it was [former] President Joseph Estrada who ordered that BRP Sierra Madre be grounded in Ayungin Shoal. So paano naman na siya rin ang magsasabi na remove it, magkaroon ng commitment?" he added.

Estrada, meanwhile, said the claim was merely a "hearsay" as there was no promise made during his father's presidential term.

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"I think that is illogical. That's impossible for him to make a commitment, to make a promise to the Chinese government to remove BRP Sierra Madre at any time. If he indeed made that promise, bakit hindi yung mga succeeding presidents after my father if that is really binding?" the Senator stressed.

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