The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is eyeing El Nido in Palawan as its principal hub for its operations within the West Philippine Sea (WPS) because it step up its presence within the territory that’s being disputed primarily by China.
The plan to transform El Nido into an operational hub that might pave approach for the event of a PCG base was disclosed by Commodore Armand Balilo following the go to to Kalayaan, Palawan of PCG Commandant George Ursabia Jr. on Tuesday.
“Can even make EL Nido the hub of PCG operations in WPS. We wish to set up a Coast Guard base within the close to future,” mentioned Balilo, who can be the Coast Guard spokesman.
Other than utilizing El Nido as its staging level and constructing a base there for its maritime patrol operations within the WPS, Balilo mentioned the PCG additionally plans to enhance its present station in Pagasa Island.
“There’s a plan to additional enhance the PCG station in Pagasa for monitoring functions, particularly on maritime security and search and rescue. That is for the fishermen,” he mentioned.
Ursabia visited Pagasa Island and checked on the standing of the PCG station there and its personnel, the place based on Balilo, the commandant’s social gathering was not challenged by Chinese language vessels.
“His go to is to make sure that each PCG personnel even at our most distant territories are in excessive spirit and doing their respective roles proper to echo the resolve of the President to make sure the security and well-being of our fishermen and the coastal communities in all elements of the nation, together with the WPS,” Balilo mentioned.
Whereas in Pagasa, Ursabia honored PCG personnel who’ve been deployed to “uphold maritime regulation enforcement, maritime safety, maritime security, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental safety.”
Ursabia bestowed the “Award of Distinguished Coast Guard Cross and Ribbon” in honest appreciation to the efforts and sacrifices of station commander of LTJG (lieutenant junior grade) Elwin Madridano and the 16 personnel of PCG station in Kalayaan.
“We acknowledge your heroism within the face of nice hazard above and past the decision of responsibility, most particularly in conducting maritime patrols within the West Philippine Sea. On behalf of your Coast Guard household and all the Filipino nation, we thanks to your humble and compassionate public service,” Ursabia mentioned.
On the identical time, the commandant challenged all of the members of the PCG to step up their presence within the WPS and “fly the nationwide flag with a way of satisfaction.”
Ursabia acknowledged the PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Assets vessels that preserve maritime safety and security within the WPS, together with the BRP Malapascua, BRP Capones, BRP Francisco Dagohoy, MCS-3001, MCS-3002, MCS-3004, MCS-3005, and BRP Habagat.
“These are the 2 fundamental targets that we have to accomplish: stepping up our presence and flying the Philippine flag with a way of satisfaction as a result of the West Philippine Sea is ours! However then, we must always not neglect that it’s also a contested space,” Ursabia mentioned.
“There are others claiming that it’s also theirs. However after all, we is not going to give up the territory. It’s ours! Therefore, we have now to do our half in a peaceable and rules-based method,” he careworn.
The chairman of the Home Strategic Intelligence Committee has known as for the institution of naval “ahead working bases [FOBs]” within the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, in a information assertion, urged the Philippine Navy to safe the world amid persistent Chinese language incursions.
“We wish the Philippine Navy positioned to forestall China from asserting administrative management over any reefs, rocks or lagoons inside our 200-nautical mile unique financial zone,” he mentioned.
In line with Pimentel, the Navy ought to put up new FOBs in Palawan —one within the Municipality of Balabac and one within the Municipality of Busuanga—as a part of its strategic basing plan, plus a 3rd FOB in Subic Bay, which is just 123 nautical miles west of Bajo de Masinloc.
“We must always keep away from a repeat of the 2012 incident the place China was capable of occupy Bajo de Masinloc,” Pimentel careworn.
In navy parlance, an FOB is a secured outpost that may function a springboard for sustained distant operations.
“We anticipate the Navy’s two lead warships to be posted within the FOBs and to routinely function within the West Philippine Sea,” Pimentel mentioned, referring to the multi-role guided missile frigates BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna.
Pimentel additionally mentioned he’s relying on the Philippine Coast Guard to continuously deploy its lead ship—the French-made 84-meter offshore patrol vessel BRP Gabriela Silang—within the waters threatened by undesirable Chinese language forays.
“Each the Coast Guard and the Navy ought to marshal their greatest defensive preventing belongings within the waters the place we’re most weak,” Pimentel mentioned.
Within the 2012 standoff, the lawmaker mentioned, Chinese language coast guard and maritime militia vessels blocked entry to Bajo de Masinloc. They thwarted the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from accosting Chinese language boats caught illegally fishing within the space.
As a part of a deal brokered by the US authorities, he mentioned each China and the Philippines have been presupposed to withdraw their ships from Bajo de Masinloc.
“Nevertheless, after the Philippines had pulled out, China reneged and stored occupying the chain of coral reefs and rocks that kinds a part of the Municipality of Masinloc in Zambales province,” Pimentel added.