Esperon: PH to use unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines— National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Tuesday said the Philippines will use unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the country’s maritime territories and strengthen its surveillance capability in the West Philippine Sea.
Speaking during the post-Sona press briefing with other Cabinet officials, Esperon said the government will utilize technology to monitor the Philippines’ maritime domain, particularly the West Philippine Sea, a source of territorail dispute between Manila and Beijing.
“We will add more marine scientific research, the putting up of lighthouses and the use of technology to take care of our maritime domain,” Esperon said.
“So we will have now the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and imagery satellite to take care of our maritime domain that will, therefore, involve and strengthen our fisheries fishing activities in our maritime domain,” he added.
The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and China hold different, sometimes overlapping, territorial claims over the South China Sea. China claims more than 80 percent of this extremely significant body of water, which has over 250 small islands, atolls, cays, shoals, reefs and sandbars.
Despite an agreement to refrain from undertaking provocative actions, China has continued to militarize territories that it claims in the region.
Maritime peace in the disputed territories was again tested when a Chinese trawler rammed and sank a Filipino fishing boat in Recto Bank, an area within Manila’s exclusive economic zone. A Vietnamese boat rescued 22 Filipino fishermen who were left floating at sea. /jpv
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