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AFP sees no need to deploy more troops in West PH Sea

/ 08:11 PM March 18, 2015
An aerial view shows an islet in the disputed Spratly Group of Islands, in the West Philippine Sea. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

An aerial view shows an islet in the disputed Spratly Group of Islands, in the West Philippine Sea. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it does not see the need to deploy more troops to the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) amid China’s massive reclamation activities there.

“I think hindi naman kailangan magdagdag ng mga sundalo dun eh (we don’t need to increase the number of soldiers there). I think we should [be more vocal on] our protest which the [Department of Affairs] is doing,” AFP chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said on Wednesday.

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Magdalo Representative Francis Ashley Acedillo recently proposed the deployment of more troops in Philippine-claimed detachments in the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys).

Catapang emphasized the need for military modernization, which they are now aiming to build.

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“We need to buy more ships, airplanes so that we can patrol our areas. Then finally yung sa arbitration case na finile natin (we filed) hopefully ma-desisyonan (we arrived at a decision),” he said.

“Very important sa amin yung modernization program. Yung mga Kevlar helmet, mga vest, armor assets, attack helicopters. So all of these things make our job effective and kailangan namin yung mga modernization equipment,” he added.

The Philippines is one of the claimants of the resource-rich West Philippine Sea. It occupies nine islands in the Kalayaan Islands. Other claimant countries are China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Philippines has already filed a case before the United Nations court to rule on the dispute, although if it wins, China would probably have occupied the disputed seas, according to sources.

“Ang importante is it will be the international community that will help us in our claim for these areas,” Catapang said.
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TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Francis Ashley Acedillo, Gregorio Catapang Jr., Kalayaan Island Group, South China Sea, Spratlys, West Philippine Sea
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