PH military pouring naval, air assets near site of Chinese incursions in WPS
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is pouring naval and air assets into Palawan province near where China militia vessels have been brazenly encroaching into the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
According to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea, at an online presentation on Wednesday (April 21), some of the ships sent to the area were:
- BRP Miguel Malvar (PS-19)
- BRP Magat Salamat (PS-20)
- BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35)
- BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36)
- BRP Dagupan City (LS-551)
- BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16)
- BRP Tarlac (LD-601)
These vessels were expected to back up the Philippine Coast Guard’s BRP Cabra (MRRV 4409), BRP Malapascua (MRRV 4403) plus two other ships from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Five aircraft from the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy are also in Palawan to conduct aerial patrols.
According to the task force’s presentation, the BRP Mangyan (AS-71) and the Navy’s newest frigates BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) are soon expected to join the deployment.
The Philippines has repeatedly protested the lingering presence of China militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea, which is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. More than 200 Chinese militia vessels had been spotted at the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in early March.
China all but ignored the protests and had issued a statement saying it owned Julian Felipe Reef and the waters around it which was a direct affront to Philippine foreign affairs and defense officials.
Most of the China ships have left the reef but not the Philippines’ EEZ and were just scattered across the West Philippine Sea.
The military’s Western Command based in Palawan had asked for more assets to protect Philippine sovereignty in the vast maritime area and conduct increased patrols.
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