Why does PH need to secure Ayungin, Scarborough?


The rusty BRP Sierra Madre has been an effective deterrence against further Chinese incursion into Philippine territorial claims. FILE PHOTO BY ABIGAIL KWOK

(Editor’s note: Jose Antonio A. Custodio is a security and defense consultant and was a technical adviser for a US defense company working for the US Pacific Command. He also specializes in military history and has post-graduate studies in history from the University of the Philippines. He also teaches history and political science at several universities in Metro Manila.)


A little more than a hundred nautical miles from the island of Palawan, a standoff involving half a dozen Filipino soldiers aboard a rusting and grounded World War II- era LST and several Chinese maritime surveillance and PLA Navy vessels is taking place at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Reef). Though this maritime drama is small in nature, with only a tiny motley array of vessels and personnel on both sides deployed there, it does have a significant effect on the current security environment in the Asia Pacific Region.

This current standoff followed an earlier one last April 2012 when the Chinese sought to physically challenge Philippine control of Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal). Initially the Philippine government sought to confront the Chinese vessels deployed at the shoal but subsequently withdrew on the assumption that China would abide by an agreement on mutual withdrawal forged behind closed doors. Unfortunately, China reneged on that agreement and instead of pulling out, refused to withdraw its own vessels even after the Philippines did.


Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/67626/struggle-for-the-shoals–why-does-ph-need-to-secure-ayungin-scarborough