Philippines losing control of Ayungin Shoal: Goodbye BRP Sierra Madre?

The Armed Forces of the Philippines may soon be disconnected from Ayungin Shoal where BRP Sierra Madre is located. China’s possible reclamation in Panganiban (Mischief) reef, 23 nautical miles from Ayungin Shoal, will make rotation of troops and replenishment missions difficult for Philippine military.

“If China reclaims Mischief Reef, we’ll be cut off. It will challenge the Ayungin Shoal that we’re claiming,” AFP cheif General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said.

“We have soldiers there and if this happens, they are very near each other so, I hope there will be no miscalculation or aggressiveness on both sides, so hopefully, we will solve this peacefully and through the rule of law, international law and through diplomacy,” General Catapang adds.

China has been doing reclamation activities in at least seven locations in West Philippine Sea.

“Some countries have reclaimed areas, but not that big. Unfortunately, the size of this reclamation makes us wonder what’s the intention of this,” the top military official said.