PCG opens monitoring station in Batanes island near Taiwan

PCG opens monitoring station in Batanes island near Taiwan

/ 01:18 PM May 23, 2024

PCG opens monitoring station in Batanes island near Taiwan

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) opens its newest monitoring station in Itbayat, Batanes, the northernmost island province of the Philippines facing Taiwan, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. PHOTOS FROM OFFICE OF FRANCIS TOLENTINO/INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) opened its newest monitoring station in Batanes, acquiring a sharper eye for external threats in the northernmost island province of the country facing Taiwan.

This facility was inaugurated in Itbayat town on Thursday morning, led by PCG chief Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan, according to the agency spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo.


Details are still thin, but Balilo said the development will enhance PCG’s capability of maritime domain awareness in the area which is crucial for things like search and rescue and monitoring of Filipino fishermen.


“This place is very important, being the northern tip of the country; our borders are porous and we need to monitor what’s happening there,” Balilo told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview on Thursday.

The inauguration of this facility coincided with China’s holding of military drills surrounding Taiwan in what it said was “strong punishment” for the self-ruled island’s “confession of independence.”

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Taiwan broke away from the mainland in 1949 following the take over of the Chinese Communist Party, which, to date, vows to put the territory under its control by all means necessary, including military action.

Itbayat is only about two hundred kilometers away from Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost point of Taiwan.

It is also near Bashi Channel, a strategic waterway between Batanes’ Mavulis Island and Taiwan’s Orchid Island that is crucial for military operations.


Security expert Chester Cabalza said this facility is necessary to protect the island province, as he also noted its proximity to the aforementioned strategic waterway.

“The PCG has to patrol the northern frontier of Philippines from any further encroachment of Chinese vessels since the Bashi Channel is very strategic for the Philippines for prepositional orientation and readiness of combat operations,” said Cabalza, president and founder of Manila-based think tank International Development and Security Cooperation, in a message to INQUIRER.net on Thursday.

Early last month, a People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) warship and two other Chinese vessels were spotted in the vicinity waters of Itbayat during the ongoing war games between Manila and Washington.

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“The PLAN warship in our internal waters tries to test our adherence to law and order and maritime security by trying to provoke us and debunk our strategic patience,” Cabalza also said last May 8.

TAGS: Batanes, PCG, Taiwan

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