The Philippines stands firm in its decision to maintain a presence on one of the contested islands within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), asserting its “sovereign rights and jurisdiction over these waters.”

According to West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela in a recent interview, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirms that the BRP Sierra Madre remains stationed at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, situated 115 nautical miles from Palawan.

This comes in response to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ demand for the Philippines to vacate the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, where it was intentionally grounded in 1999 as a symbol of Philippine sovereignty in the region.

China alleges that the Philippines had made repeated pledges to “remove the ship,” yet no action has been taken.

Tarriela clarified, “To the best of my knowledge, I cannot recall any commitment by our national government to relocate the vessel.”