PH evaluates joint sea patrol offers with other nations
MANILA, Philippines — Before conducting joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea with other countries, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will first review associated proposals.
In a Saturday press conference, AFP Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos said the AFP is examining offers from various countries, aiming to institute a “rules-based international order in the West Philippine Sea.”
“Our objective is to establish a rules-based international order in the West Philippine Sea. Our consistent complaint is that our neighbor isn’t compliant with international law. So, our engagement with anyone who offers help, or shares our goal to establish this order, is being studied. We’re carefully considering all offers,” said Carlos.
While no directive exists yet about conducting a joint patrol with any country, Aguilar expressed satisfaction that multiple nations back the Philippines’ position in the contested area.
“No decision has been made about a joint patrol. However, we’re pleased that these countries support and share our position, and they’re willing to help. That’s the essential part; their willingness to assist. Whether we accept their assistance remains undetermined, as no guidelines are in place,” Carlos said.
“I haven’t received any directive to do a joint patrol with any nation. Currently, all our patrols in the West Philippine Sea are unilateral, conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard and the BFAR [Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources], not with foreign countries,” he said.
Recently, a strategic partnership was signed between President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. One clause in their agreement pertains to planning bilateral joint patrols to bolster regional peace and stability.
The partnership declaration read: “We will plan bilateral joint patrols in the South China Sea and in areas of mutual interest to support regional peace and stability.”