Home HOME BANNER STORY Medialdea: Kasunduan sa BRP Sierra Madre ikinasa sa ilalim ng Aquino admin

Medialdea: Kasunduan sa BRP Sierra Madre ikinasa sa ilalim ng Aquino admin

MANILA, Philippines- Inihayag ni dating Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea nitong Martes na ikinasa ang kasunduan na tanging pagkain at tubig lamang ang papayagang dalhin sa BRP Sierra Madre sa Ayungin Shoal noong 2013, sa administrasyon ni dating Pangulong Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Inilahad ito ni Medialdea, na nanungkulan sa ilalim ng Duterte administration, sa pagdinig ng House Committee on National Defense and Security kasama ang Special Committee on West Philippine Sea sa “gentleman’s agreement” na umano’y pinasok ni dating Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa Chinese government.

“The information I gathered was that there was a previous commitment that food and water will be allowed to be shipped to the debilitated vessel since 2013,” anang dating executive secretary said.

“That’s what I gathered when the decision came out 12 days after we assumed office. I was just asking around what’s the present status of the Ayungin Shoal because I know there was a vessel there.”

Ayon kay Medialdea, si dating Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin ang umano’y nakipagkasundo kay Chinese ambassador Ma Keqing noong 2013.

Tatlong taon ito bago ang 2016 arbitration ruling na bumasura sa pag-angkin ng China sa South China Sea.

Saklaw ang Ayungin Shoal ng exclusive economic zone at continental shelf ng Pilipinas as ilalim ng United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), at batay sa 2016 arbitral award.

Nakasadsad sa Ayungin Shoal mula 1999 ang BRP Sierra Madre, isang World War II ship na simbolo ng soberanya ng Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea.

Giit ni Medialdea, “nirespeto” lamang umano ng  Duterte administration ang 2013 commitment ni Gazmin hinggil sa paghahatid ng pagkain at tubig sa mga sundalong nakaistasyon sa BRP Sierra Madre.

“Alam ko, may continuation ‘yung ano na ‘yan because that was respected. We had to follow that ‘di ba…for us to move on,” aniya.

“Remember, we just assumed office 12 days earlier. Hindi natin alam itong ano na ‘to. Tignan natin kung ano makakabuti sa paglabas ng desisyon [We did not know what it was about. We were thinking what would be good following the release of the decision]. Remember, we haven’t received a copy of the decision at that time. It came out two weeks after, I think, when we were given a copy of the decision,” dagdag pa ni Medialdea.

Subalit, nilinaw niyang walang commitment hinggil sa pagdadala ng repair materials sa BRP Sierra Madre, kundi tanging “essentials” lamang.

Sinabi rin niyang hindi binawi ni Duterte ang 2013 agreement at nagdesisyong panatilihin ang status quo sa ilalim ng kanyang termino.

“No, there was none. It was the call of the President, who is the chief architect, whether to respect that or not,” aniya.

“And I think President Duterte was of the position that we respect this first, because this is a new one. In the same manner that when President Marcos came into office, he rescinded what the arrangement was all about–agreement, which we do not even know up to now what it is.”

Ayon naman kay dating Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, hindi ibinahagi sa kanya ni Gazmin ang anumang impormasyon ukol sa kasunduan na pinasok umano nito.

Itinanggi rin ni Lorenzana na hindi nagdala ang Duterte administration ng kahit anong repair materials sa BRP Sierra Madre, at sinabing noong 2021, kinailangan nitong kumpunihin ang maliit na bahagi ng vessel upang maging komportable ang mga sundalo roon.

Gayundin, inihayag ni Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau na wala siyang maalala hinggil sa nasabing kasunduan.

“The 2013 statement that’s been discussed was a statement allegedly made by Secretary Gazmin of the DND. The DFA cannot make any determination on this one. I would have to defer to my colleagues,” giit ni Mendiola-Rau.

Sa kasalukuyan ay wala pang komento ang Aquino camp hinggil dito.

Samantala, itinanggi ni Medialdea ang umano’y gentleman’s agreement nina Duterte at Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ayon sa dating executive secretary, personal siyang nakadalo sa dalawang official meetings sa pagitan nina Duterte at Xi, at sa mga pulong na iyon, sinabi niyang, “no gentleman’s agreement ever took place.”  

“President Duterte, being a lawyer, knew fully well that it was foolhardy to enter into an agreement, especially a gentleman’s agreement at that, with the president of the People’s Republic of China on matters involving sovereign rights,” giit ni Medialdea. RNT/SA