US spy planes monitoring activities in West PH Sea


US Navy P-3C Orion aircraft AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA—There are no drones, but the United States has long been providing intelligence assistance to the Philippines through the deployment of maritime surveillance aircraft over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as part of regular joint military exercises, the country’s top diplomat said Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said that US military P-3C Orions, anti-submarine aircraft, periodically conduct overflights in skies over the West Philippine Sea during joint military exercises to deliver actual surveillance information to the government.

The US Embassy in Manila did not issue a comment and instead referred questions to the Philippine government.

“We are not speaking of drones but P-3C Orions. I think this assistance has been there for a while now. When I came into the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), I think I had heard of P-3C Orions already being helpful in terms of information in the area, in terms of telling us what’s going on,” Del Rosario, referring to his appointment as foreign secretary in 2011.

“This is mostly provided by way of the joint training exercises and the P-3C Orion is something that we rely on in terms of being provided information with regard to the maritime domain awareness,” Del Rosario said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The P-3C Orion is a four-engine turbo-propeller maritime surveillance aircraft that the US Navy has been using since the 1960s, upgraded in design and capabilities over the decades. Its maker, American defense contractor Lockheed Martin, said the aircraft is used by up to 21 governments around the world.

Del Rosario did not specify particular information the Philippines has gained from the US surveillance flights and the number of such flights so far, saying he was not privy to the protocol covering such overflights.

He said, however, said the arrangement is being undertaken under existing provisions of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty.

“I think we have this initiative of reaching out to our international partners, including the US, in terms of assistance with regards to our minimum credible defense posture strategy, which has, of course, two components: one is maritime domain awareness and second is to improve our capacity for deterrence,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario said the Orion flights have long been going on as part of US help in the Philippines’ bid to build a minimum credible defense posture amid security concerns in the disputed West Philippine Sea, the name the Philippines has given to that part of the South China Sea it claims comes within the Philippines’ so-called exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines has been beefing up its external defense while pursuing negotiations and legal action against China, which Manila has accused of several encroachments into its exclusive economic zone.

China claims almost the entire expanse of the South China Sea, conflicting with claims of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The Philippines has brought the maritime question before the United Nations arbitral tribunal in hopes of halting Chinese incursions into the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

He said intelligence shared by the US would be useful in pursuing this legal action.

“I think that it’s of significant importance for us because we do have an interest in terms of what’s going on within our exclusive economic zone and our continental shelf… I think it’s useful for us to be gathering this information which is also utilized in our arbitration,” Del Rosario said.

Asked whether the American role in assisting Philippine surveillance would compromise its neutral position in the dispute, Del Rosario said it was well within the US’ rights to patrol the critical international waters.

“I think the US has an interest in terms of the South China Sea, in terms of maintaining freedom of navigation there and unimpeded commerce. I also believe that we should be working with our treaty ally; it’s advisable for us to work to work with them in accordance with our agreement, that we should be relying on one another,” said Del Rosario.

“And I think it’s in that context that we believe they have a right to be there and it’s also because we’d like them to be there,” he added.

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  • superpilipinas

    Ok so Del Rosario and Minh of Vietnam has finished their meeting and agreed with UNCLOS and agreed to work together regarding the Spratly Islands.

    At least someone at DND and DFA had been reading my comments and suggestions to form alliance with Japan and Vietnam. The next country to complete the alliance against China is India.

  • iriga1_city1_boy1

    I have to ask this:”When these P-3’s(before they were P-3A’s and B’s) were descending and taking off at Sangley Point,Cavite City(approx:30 miles from Foreign Affair’s office in Padre Faura) in the 60’s,were the Foreign Secretaries before of the Philippines(Pelaez,Lopez,Mendez,old man Ramos) asked the U.S. for help to patrol the country’s coastline?
    I have to ask because,since the Americans were using the Cavite runway,they could have also watched our South China corridor waters.But if they never asked for help,then the leaders of this nation before could have the foresight to buy a couple or so of this airplane for use in the future.When it became P-3C,the old ones got bought by Japan,Netherlands,Pakistan,Iran,and other countries.That’s foresight and planning for future.
    Now we are in “DEEP KIMCHEE”because we don’t have the money to buy these airplanes which is vital to watch this glutton neighbor country .What we got are Generals with “pabaon”,Generals becoming millionaires,and some politicians with “private armies”.
    What happened to the money to upgrade our military before?They could not even buy the precursor of the P-3!! The P-2 Neptune!!! to patrol our coast.
    And you can’t blame this to the young man(PNOY).He is trying to correct the decades of neglect,blight,abuse and cancerous corruption of this “God Save this country Philippines”.

  • Penny Lane

    Abe and his clique are slowly showing their true colors. In a bid to amend its constitution to rearm Japan, its Deputy PM, Taro Aso, said during a Monday speech Japan could “learn from the tactics” of the Nazis, whom he said were able to change the German constitution “before anyone knew.” In short, what he is saying, japan should learn from Hitler on how he was able to grab power, revised the constitution and rearmed Germany. This was on the heels of Osaka’s Mayor, another Abe clique, defending the use of sex slaves during WW2, inspite of years of denials and excuses. What an irony, history is turning full circle again. The grandson of a nipponese WW2 criminal, Abe, and a grandson of a Philippine WW2 Laurel puppet collaboration cabinet minister, Pnoy, finally met in person, kampied, toasting to a re-establishment of and revival of the allegiance briefly broken after the defeat of the nipponese militarist in 1945. Abe and his clique are finally revealing their true face. The years of denials of war crimes, denials of sex slaves, denials of unit 731, denials of rape of nanking, and the attempt to change textbook history to paint japan as the victim and to justify their actions during WW2 including their continued homage to the class a war criminals enshrined as heroes in their yakusuni shrine are now becoming very clear.

    • ProudToBePinoy75

      Bad for china. good for the world. bakbakan na.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        i was thinking the same thing he has the same story line and same history teacher. just doesnt say brown or whitey azzes as much

      • Penny Lane

        yes good for japan and his abe right wing agenda. you should also go toast kampai with the osaka mayor, join this deputy PM and learn how Hitler grab power and change the constitution under the nose of the german people and then visit and pray for their war criminals at the yasukuni shrine. would be good for you and the conscience of the philipine civilians murdered and butchered by abe’s war criminal grandfather and his gang. And BTW, point me to where or any of my comments where I have used racially charged derogatory epitaphs.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        i probably know more about hitler than you do since history has been my passion and own 3000 books on history and read many more and im not filipino. and when someone attacks people over something that happened 70 years ago i would say that is racist. think all the criminals are still alive. stalin killed 75 percent of my family but i dont hate russians or germans. who killed more of my family. and i have worked for japanese and they were great to work for. now tell me you love the japanese because i have read your remarks and it looks like hatred to me. and i dont pray to shrines no matter who they belong to. and you dont need racial epitaphs not to be racial. hatred is racial. i know china would be a better ruler according to the away you think.. but they arent the same

      • Penny Lane

        attacking abe and his clique this osaka mayor and his deputy pm aso is not racist but exposing the real agenda. it is not racist to expose the right wing agenda of finally saying what has always been in their mind, which is to learn from the nazi on how to amend their constitution; expose this osaka mayor of justifying sex slaves after years of denying it even exist; expose the right wing agenda on their continued attempts to rewrite their historical textbook to show their war of aggression was justified and expunging of their war crime guilt; expose their blatant disregard of the victims of their crime with their continued visits and praying for the souls of their war criminals. time does not and will not expunge their guilt, not unless they show they have fully contrived and are sorry for their war crimes. they should learn a page from what the germans have done against the nazi war criminals. even today, more than 70 years after, they continue to pursue and prosecute these nazi war criminals, even if these criminals are already in their 90s. time does not erase their guilt not until japan truly and sincerely stand up to their crime, not these excuses and denials and these comments and actions from abe and his right wing clique. i do not hate the japanese people, only the right wingers and those who continue to deny their guilt and history. its is not racists nor racial hatred, it is hatred against the right wingers and ultra nationalists. In the end we maybe be able to forgive but we will NEVER EVER forget!

      • MostHatedRace

        Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, Japan at US

    • Hugo.

      japan militarism is reviving, and this is the real threat which china has been preparing for all these years.

      so you think the phiippines is really the issue, nah…..

      • Garo Ungaro

        Maybe its a good show chinese/japanese martial arts show in east china sea…but as far as i know chinese hans are good more on business…? never been tested on naval games yet…? meantime Vietnam just received the first of their (6) submarine (black hole) provided by Russia…another naval toys added in the 9 dash zone…

      • WeAry_Bat

        it’s the other way around, china causing japan back to militarism.

        but japan has legislation/law which keeps them becoming more military. watch for the change of this law first.

      • Hugo.

        japan has built a very capable military even before the east sea crisis, how would china be causing japan back to militarism?

        the chinese constitution and the defense legislation have strict control on military operation and mobilization too.

  • Demo001

    aren’t these supposed to be classified? “Spy” planes nowadays seems to become not a “spy” at all.

    • iriga1_city1_boy1

      To AbantePilipinas,
      Pare,I don’t know why they brand the P-3 as a “spy plane” when this same plane had been even doing “touch and go” stuff over Canacao Bay,right there adjacent to that Coastal Road in Cavite since the 60’s and over Grande Island in Olongapo.It’s not a secret plane.They do maritime surveillance in high seas.I can consider the U-2 and the Habu(SR-71) as spy planes,but not this laggard,heavyweight,turboprop P-3.Even those “girls” in VP alley in Pag Asa,Olongapo know this plane for their boyfriends give them P-3 T-shirts in the 70’s.Common’ what spy plane they are talking about! This airplane was already flying when Mayor Fidel Dones was the Mayor of Cavite City.
      But the plane is very efficient.I’ll drink to that.The Philippine Government could have purchased some of them before,but “IBINULSA” yung mga pera.
      Iyan we are in “Deep Kimche” now.

    • BIGButo

      No because they are not spy planes!

      • iriga1_city1_boy1

        To Pareng BigButo,
        Pare,nag lalanding nga yang P-3 yan sa Nichols Air Base(Pasay/Paranaque) since 70’s.Kung iyan U-2,it will not land anywhere where people would see it frequently.
        A C-130 can patrol our shores but we only have what? 1 and a half?Pilay pa yung isa? At walang perang pang “JP-4″ gas!! What if they need to ferry cargos and troops to Mindanao?The patrolling C-130 will be called back from the seas of Busuanga to do the job.
        Moral to be learned for a country:
        People and leaders must love their motherland.Huwag pagsamantalahan ang bayan.Because if emergency arise,we become “mendicant” and kawawa.And it’s happening now.Sling shots won’t scare the ‘big bully”.

  • MostHatedRace

    Buong mundo kalaban na ng mga Tsekwa. That is why they are hated all over the world

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