National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines did not lose Sandy Cay, a network of sand bars and reefs located over 4 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island.
“Nothing is lost there because nobody is occupying Sandy Cay. Nobody,” he told the press during the Air Force Symposium 2018 in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on June 7.
“It’s still ours – We did not lose. Nobody has lost anything,” he further said.
Lorenzana added that Filipinos have access on the said sand bars. “They can go there, on day trip, punta ka dun, maligo ka then come back, basta no occupation,” he said.
It can be recalled that Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary C. Alejano said that Philippines lost effective control of Sandy Cay under Duterte administration, responding to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s challenge that he will resign if the country lost a single territory under the current government.
“Secretary Cayetano should be reminded that China seized Sandy Cay during his and Duterte’s incumbency. Since August last year, Chinese coast guard vessels and militia fishing boats are stationed near Sandy Cay 24 hours a day, effectively seizing physical control of Sandy Cay,” Alejano said.
“Every time Philippine government vessels patrol Sandy Cay, they are driven away by Chinese coast guard vessels,” he added.
“Sandy Cay is part of the Pag-asa Island network of sand bars and reefs which lies only over 4 nm from it. Sandy Cay is considered as a traditional rest and recreation area of inhabitants and visitors of Pag-asa Island. Under our Baselines Law, RA 9522, Pag-asa Island which includes Sandy Cay is part of the Philippine territory consistent to Article 121 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Alejano explained.
Sources: https://www.rappler.com/nation/204332-philippines-sandbars-pagasa-island-delfin-lorenzana; http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/656084/lorenzana-no-one-s-on-sandy-cay-it-s-still-ours/story/; https://www.facebook.com/Rep.AlejanoMagdalo/photos/a.532106460248664.1073741829.490802617712382/1547256772066956/