Marcos: Rescind deal with China to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal if it exists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made it clear on Wednesday: The BRP Sierra Madre will stay right where it is in Ayungin Shoal.

"I'm not aware of any agreement that the Philippines should remove from its own territory its own ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, from Ayungin Shoal," Marcos said in a video shared by the Presidential Communication Office.

"And let me go further, if there does exist such an agreement, I rescind that agreement now," the president added.

Marcos' statement came a day after National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya also denied the country had committed to remove the ship.

"The PH has not and will never enter into any agreement abandoning its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal," he said in a statement.

In a separate interview with the media on Tuesday, Malaya also said there is "no record or any minutes of a meeting or any formal report or any legal document, legally enforceable document or otherwise or a verbal agreement na alam namin sa [that we know of in the] National Security Council."

"Insofar as we're concerned, we have no, and will never sign or agree to anything that would in effect abandon our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea, in particular Ayungin Shoal," he added.

RELATED: Malaya: No promise made to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal

The BRP Sierra Madre was intentionally grounded in Ayungin Shoal in 1999 to serve as the country's military outpost in the West Philippine Sea.

According to a statement by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manila made a commitment to remove the vessel, but has yet to act on it.

Beijing also accused the Philippines of wanting to permanently occupy Ayungin Shoal.

Over the weekend, the Chinese Coast Guard used water cannons on Philippine vessels on a mission to resupply troops on board the BRP Sierra Madre.

A similar incident also happened in November 2021.

RELATED: Additional PCG vessels during resupply missions an option, spox says