AFP, DFA warn public vs China's 'false' claims on Ayungin arrangement

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
AFP, DFA warn public vs China's 'false' claims on Ayungin arrangement
The BRP Sierra Madre serves as an outpost of the Philippine Marines in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippine government ran it aground deliberately on Ayungin (Second Thomas Shoal) in 1999 to assert the country's sovereignty in that part of the South China Sea.
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) cautioned the public against falling for false narratives following China's claim about a supposed agreement to ease tensions in the West Philippine Sea. 

In a statement late Wednesday, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., chief of staff of the AFP, said the organization will "not dignify" the claim of the Chinese Embassy in Manila that Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, commander of the military's Western Command, had agreed on a "new model" arrangement on the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal. 

Brawner said that China's claim of an audio recording allegedly between Carlos and a Chinese diplomat "does not merit significant concern as it appears to be a malign influence effort from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)."

"Transcripts can easily be fabricated, and audio recordings can be manufactured by using deep fakes," he added. 

The DFA earlier said the Philippine had not made any deals with China concerning the Ayungin Shoal. The agency stressed that only President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can authorize agreements entered into by the government on matters pertaining to the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año also denied Beijing's claim. 

Caution vs deceptive claims

Brawner urged the public and the media "to handle such reports with care and to avoid spreading unverified information that could further escalate tensions or mislead public opinions."

Echoing the AFP, the DFA also warned against being swayed by deceptive narratives. 

"Resorting to tactics such as releasing unverifiable recordings of supposed conversations with Philippine officials could demonstrate efforts to sow discord and confusion among Philippine agencies and the Filipino public," the department said. 

It also reminded diplomats to strictly adhere to the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, which states that "it is the duty of all persons… to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State."

Teodoro on Wednesday urged the DFA to look into how individuals from the Chinese Embassy supposedly recorded a phone conversation between Carlos and a Chinese diplomat on a so-called new model agreement on rotation and resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal. 

The defense chief said those involved in the alleged wiretapping and violation of international relations protocols should be expelled from the Philippines, if the accusations are verified. 

Relations between Manila and Beijing have deteriorated following incidents involving Philippine and Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, including collisions and the firing of water cannons.

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with