MANILA, Philippines – The military further intensified its presence in the areas of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi by deploying additional vessels to perform maritime security patrols and provide humanitarian assistance for Sabah evacuees.
“From 25, dati nang existing yung 25, ngayon 34 ships, for maritime patrols and security, plus humanitarian mission, kasi nag-intensify tayo ng humanitarian efforts eh, so yan ang kailangan,” Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., military spokesman, told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday.
(From 25, there are now 34 ships conducting maritime patrols and security checks, plus humanitarian mission as we intensify our humanitarian efforts that are urgently needed.)
The deployment was also aimed at preventing Tausugs to sail to Sabah to reinforce the “royal army” of the sultan of Sulu.
Mobile and foot patrols to secure all ports, as well as intelligence monitoring, have been also intensified.
The Philippine Air Force has dedicated one C-130 aircraft since Monday for transporting relief goods from Zamboanga to Tawi-Tawi intended for the evacuees.
The Navy deployed AT291 vessel which left Zamboanga City Tuesday to deliver relief goods and 15 drums of fuel products to Jolo and Tawi-Tawi.
Another Navy vessel, the PS22 also left Taganak Island on Tuesday to facilitate the transport of 423 evacuees to Bangao, Tawi-Tawi.
“While the transport of evacuees are ongoing, our troops on the ground continue to provide sea marshalling to all commercial vessels travelling from Zamboanga City Pier to Suba-Nipa-Margosatubig, Lamitan, Isabela, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi to ensure the safety and security of the passengers,” Burgos said.