Level up na! Duterte wants luxury liner to replace rickety PH ship
President Duterte is planning to deploy a luxury liner to replace the dilapidated BRP Sierra Madre, now grounded at Ayunging Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Spratly Islands.
“Atin man iyon. Palitan ko ng luxury liner iyon. [laughter] may mga waiter, pagkain, swimming pool para ang sundalo tataba,” Duterte said after a visit at the Western Command in Palawan Thursday (April 6).
BRP Sierra Madre is a 100-meter (328 foot) amphibious vessel built for the US in 1944 and acquired by the Filipino navy in 1976. It was grounded by the Philippines Marines in 1999 in a bid to show “occupation” of Philippine soldiers at the disputed island.
At the height of the Philippines’ claim over at South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines placed the BRB Sierra Madre, a commissioned navy vessel, in Ayungin in 1999. The ship was meant “to serve as a permanent Philippine installation in response to China’s illegal occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995.”
“The Philippines reiterates that Ayungin Shoal is part of its continental shelf over which the Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” the DFA said in a statement in 2014.