Bongbong Marcos announces US and Philippines begin joint patrol in WPS on Tuesday
MANILA, Philippines — As a show of force in the area gripped by maritime disputes, Philippines and United States on Tuesday began joint patrols in West Philippine Sea (WPS), according to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Today marks the beginning of joint maritime and air patrols — a collaborative effort between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Indo-Pacific Command in the West Philippine Sea,” Marcos said on X (formerly Twitter).
Philippines currently occupies nine maritime features, collectively known as Kalayaan Island Group, around the area of WPS.
Despite an international tribunal ruling effectively dismissing its claims, China asserts sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea, including WPS, causing tension between Manila and Beijing.
BRP Sierra Madre became the flashpoint of the tensions between the two countries as Philippine vessels conducting regular resupply missions for the commissioned World War II-era ship were often harassed by China’s vessels.
This year alone, China used military-
Joint patrols for regional security
Marcos said the joint maritime and air patrols seek to bolster regional security and the partnership of long-time allies.
“This significant initiative is a testament to our commitment to bolster the inter-operability of our military forces in conducting maritime and air patrols,” the President said.
“Through collaborative efforts, we aim to enhance regional security and foster a seamless partnership with the United States in safeguarding our shared interests,” he added.
The Chief Executive said the patrols are scheduled to continue until Thursday (November 23).
Patrols also a wink on Taiwan?
Aside from WPS, maritime activities are also set to be held off Batanes, the northernmost province of the country near Taiwan, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
China regards Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island, as a renegade province subject to reunification.
AFP will utilize its three navy vessels, two FA-50PH light combat aircraft and its A-29B Super Tucano, which is a light attack aircraft.
United States, on the other hand, will send in one Littoral Combat Ship and one P8-A Poseidon, a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.