Villanueva calls on gov’t to resume resupply mission to grounded Marines in Ayungin Shoal

Villanueva calls on gov’t to resume resupply mission to grounded Marines in Ayungin Shoal

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The government should be able to resupply soldiers manning a
grounded Navy ship in Ayungin Shoal because failure to do so would
send a chilling effect to Filipino fishermen in Philippine waters now
claimed by a foreign nation.

This was pointed out by Senator Joel Villanueva in backing the Defense
department’s plan to dispatch supply ships to the BRP Sierra Madre
weeks after a similar expedition was thwarted off by water cannons of
Chinese gunboats.

“This is being watched by our fishermen in which the West Philippine
Sea has been a traditional fishing area,” Villanueva said. “Kung barko
at sundalo nga po ng ating Republika ay hinaharang, paano pa po kaya
ang ating mga mangingisda na naka-bangka lang?”

This will cost a lot of fishing jobs and food on the table, he added.

Villanueva said those who will resupply the Marines stationed in the
scuttled World War II vintage ship should just ignore the scare
tactics of the “great wall of ships” blockading the shoal.

“Kung hindi po makakarating ang pagkain sa mga sundalo natin sa BRP
Sierra Madre, hindi lang sila ang magugutom. Tiyak po tayo na pati ang
ating mga mangingisda ay mangangamba na maging biktima ng panggigipit
ng Chinese coast guard.

But Villanueva believes that the assurance is given to Defense Secretary
Delfin Lorenzana by the Chinese ambassador to Manila of
non-interference to the supply run “will be observed because doing
otherwise is a bully move that will be condemned universally.”

“If you let the soldiers aboard the ship die of hunger, then the
optics will be very bad. Hindi po maganda tingnan para sa isang bansa
na merong charm offensive sa buong mundo,” he said. (ai/mtvn)

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