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Philippines won’t seek China approval to access Ayungin – Año

MANILA, Philippines — There is no need for the Philippines to get China’s approval to conduct any activity in Ayungin Shoal, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said over the weekend.

The official’s statement came after China announced it would no longer block deliveries of food and other provisions to the BRP Sierra Madre if Manila gives advance notice.

“The recent statement by China’s Foreign Ministry suggesting that the Philippines must first notify China for access to Ayungin Shoal is absurd, nonsense and unacceptable. We do not and will never need China’s approval for any of our activities therein,” Año said in a statement on Saturday night.

The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to uphold its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal, which is well within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as recognized by the international law and the 2016 Arbitral Award.

Members of the Chinese Coast Guard on rubber boats recently snatched one of four food packages and provisions airdropped by Philippine military aircraft for the Sierra Madre.

Meanwhile, a Navy official said the Philippines has a mandate and right to maintain the Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

“This is a commissioned vessel of the Philippine Navy. That is the mandate of the Philippine Navy, to maintain and not neglect it,” Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Roy Trinidad said in an interview with radio dzBB.

China set conditions – in exchange for continuing a dialogue with the Philippines – to ease tensions in the WPS, demanding that Manila tow away the rusty outpost as soon as possible.

The Department of Foreign Affairs stands firm that the Philippines has not entered into any agreement abandoning its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its EEZ and continental shelf, including that on the Ayungin Shoal.

In the same interview, Trinidad called on the public yesterday to be vigilant of China’s “penetration” into Philippine society, political and economic system to “destroy (the country) from within.”

Trinidad warned of China’s presence within the country across all instruments of power, saying it is no longer mere coincidence.