Philippines to deploy over 100 naval reservists in Batanes

Philippines to deploy over 100 naval reservists to Batanes

/ 04:45 PM March 09, 2024



MANILA, Philippines — More than a hundred naval reservists will be deployed to Batanes following Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.’s order to increase personnel in the country’s northernmost island province facing Taiwan.

A  total of 126 reservists – all of whom are Ivatan or local residents of Batanes – would attend the graduation ceremony in Basco town on Saturday, March 9, according to the Naval Forces Northern Luzon which is under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Northern Luzon Command.


The Naval Forces Northern Luzon noted that that the naval recruitment program was highlighted “in light of the guidance from [Teodoro] for an increased Armed Forces of the Philippines in Basco, Batanes.”


This was echoed by Navy spokesperson Commander John Percie Alcos, who said in a separate phone interview with on Thursday that “this is one of the thrusts of the Navy, even before Secretary of  National Defense’s statement.”

Teodoro’s order of more troops to Batanes did not sit well with Beijing, which accused Manila of “playing with fire” on the “Taiwan question.”

READ: China to PH: Taiwan a ‘red line’ issue, ‘tread carefully’

But Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said that China has no business warning the Philippines about what it does within its territory. He noted that Teodoro’s plan is part of the Department of National Defense’s Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept, which aims to address the country’s vulnerabilities and enhance its capability to defend its national interests.

READ: China has no business warning PH about its activities in Batanes — DND

Also, the Philippines allowed Washington access to four more Philippine military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) in April 2023. Three of these bases, two in Cagayan and another in Isabela, are facing Taiwan.


These new Edca sites irked Beijing, which stressed that the agreement was made so that Washington could “encircle and contain China,” which would drag the Philippines into “the Taiwan question,” a claim that Manila rejected.

Batanes’ Mavulis Island and the provincial capital of Basco are also being eyed as the potential venues of this year’s war games between Manila and Washington.

READ: US-PH war games in Batanes is not linked to China-Taiwan row, says AFP

Mavulis Island, also the northernmost island of the country, is just 142 kilometers away from Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost point of Taiwan.

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Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island that China regards as a renegade province subject to reunification, broke away from the mainland in 1949 following its takeover by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.

TAGS: Batanes, Taiwan

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