The municipal government of Quezon is urging all towns in Palawan to contribute P500,000 to aid in the rehabilitation of the grounded Philippine Navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre, which currently serves as an outpost for troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
This comes after Mayor Joselito Ayala concurred with an approved resolution from the Municipal Council of Quezon, authored by Councilor Ethel Olid. The resolution calls upon the League of Municipalities of Palawan (LMP), represented by its chairperson, Mayor Amy Roa Alvarez of San Vicente, to embrace a comparable resolution.
Olid informed Palawan News in an interview on Thursday that his resolution received unanimous approval on August 22, and Mayor Ayala already endorsed it this month.
“Kung mamarapatin nila na maglaan din ng pondong P500,000 sa bawat munisipyo nila, ay makakatulong tayo doon sa problema ng national government na laging tinatalakay sa Senate na kailangan ng P150 million para sa repair ng BRP Sierra Madre,” he said.
Olid clarified that his resolution stems from a deep sense of patriotism and a desire to assert a firm territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea.
As a resident of Palawan, he recognizes that the province would be among the first to face any repercussions in the event of an incident in the contested area.
Olid mentioned that he had already consulted with their budget officer recently, following Ayala’s recommendation to allocate P500,000 from their supplemental budget.
He suggests that the contributions should be drawn from the local funds of each respective town.
“Naisip natin ito, kasi kung mawawalan tayo ng presensya sa Ayungin Shoal, at makukuha ng China yong possession doon, ang unang apektado ang mga mangingisda sa Palawan. Hindi lang Palawan, andyan din yong mga taga ibang lalawigan na dumadayo doon sila para mangingisda,” he said.
“Sana through Mayor Amy as president ng LMP, baka madala rin niya sa meeting nila sa League of Municipalities in the Philippines para mabigyan ng pansin o makapag-ambag din sila kahit maliit na halaga dahil nakakarating din sila para mangisda sa WPS,” Olid added.
In a statement, The municipal council of Kalayaan town expressed its gratitude towards the initiative.
“Malugod nating pinasasalamatan ang resolusyon ng Sangguniang Bayan ng Quezon. It is a manifestation of solidarity of us as Palaweñk, as Filipino,” Kalayaan town councilor MP Albayda said in a statement.
In 1999, the Philippine government intentionally grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal to assert its sovereignty amidst the intrusion of the Chinese forces and other claimant countries in the area.
Earlier, the Chinese government revealed that a Philippine president promised the hauling of the grounded navy ship to maintain stability in the region.