Philippines Plans Maritime Militia to Counter Aggressive Chinese Fishing Vessels

  • Bureau
  • 11:04 AM, August 11, 2023
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Philippines Plans Maritime Militia to Counter Aggressive Chinese Fishing Vessels
West Philippine Sea @via PNA

The Philippines is planning to deploy more aircraft and ships besides tapping reservists to counter aggressive Chinese fishing vessels within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“Yes, definitely we have plans to deploy more ships and even our aircraft to secure our EEZ. That is not only for guarding our territories there but we really have to establish our presence in the area)," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in a press briefing at the Western Command (Wescom) headquarters in Palawan on Thursday afternoon.

This came after Wescom reported that as of Aug. 9, about 400 foreign vessels were detected in the country's EEZ.

Wescom commander Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos estimated that 85% of the 400 vessels are "Chinese" and that 191 of them are in the vicinity of Mischief Reef, also known as Panganiban Reef. Mischief Reef is about 134 nautical miles away from Palawan.

Brawner added they are looking at tapping reservists for sea duty to help protect the country's vast waters and this is part of their plan to develop the Reserve Force. He added that they are eyeing Filipino fisherfolk who could be trained to do their part in defending the country.

Brawner said this proposal is in the implementation stage and the AFP is waiting "for the platforms or the vessels that they are going to use."

Asked about the timeline for this measure, he said this would depend on the availability of funds.

Brawner said they would also request additional funding from Congress to improve facilities and beef up their presence in the WPS.

On Aug. 5, about 12 Chinese militia ships were spotted along with six CCG ships that blocked and fired water cannons at Filipino supply boats headed for the Philippine Navy ship BRP Sierra Madre at the Ayungin Shoal.

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