AFP eyeing more shore drills in Palawan facing West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is considering conducting more exercises in the Palawan coastline facing the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Col. Mike Logico, designated spokesperson of this year’s military service branches’ joint drills, said after the live fire exercise at Camp Cape Bojeador in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
“As we are moving towards more complex operations, it is necessary for us to exercise in the littorals,” Logico said in an interview after the drills, wherethe AFP tested its brand new self-propelled howitzers and other assets.
Logico said that drills in littorals or shorelines will further improve the interoperability between the country’s Army, Navy, and Air Force.
“When we want to go for joint interoperability, we have to exercise in an area where all major service components can participate,” Logico said.
“The only place for us to exercise that, really, is the littorals.”
“We are challenging ourselves by experimenting with other areas in Luzon and we’ve been taking a look at other areas in the western side of Palawan,” Logico also said of the area facing the WPS.
The Philippines currently occupies nine maritime features, collectively known as Kalayaan Island Group in the WPS .
Despite an international tribunal ruling effectively dismissing its claims, China asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including the WPS, causing tension between Manila and Beijing.
“[W]e are also challenging ourselves to exercise in areas that are also consistent with our mandate to secure our sovereign territory, that includes our territorial waters,” Logico said.