PCG eyeing El Nido in Palawan as subsequent operations hub in WPS | Rene Acosta and Jovee Marie de los angeles Cruz


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The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is eyeing El Nido in Palawan as its major hub for its operations within the West Philippine Sea (WPS) because it step up its presence within the territory this is being disputed essentially via China.

The plan to transform El Nido into an operational hub that might pave method for the advance of a PCG base used to be disclosed via Commodore Armand Balilo following the seek advice from to Kalayaan, Palawan of PCG Commandant George Ursabia Jr. on Tuesday.

“Will also make EL Nido the hub of PCG operations in WPS. We are looking to establish a Coast Guard base in the near future,” stated Balilo, who may be the Coast Guard spokesman.

Except for the usage of El Nido as its staging level and development a base there for its maritime patrol operations within the WPS, Balilo stated the PCG additionally plans to make stronger its present station in Pagasa Island.

“There is a plan to further improve the PCG station in Pagasa for monitoring purposes, especially on maritime safety and search and rescue. This is for the fishermen,” he stated.

Ursabia visited Pagasa Island and checked at the standing of the PCG station there and its group of workers, the place in line with Balilo, the commandant’s birthday celebration used to be now not challenged via Chinese language vessels.

“His visit is to ensure that every PCG personnel even at our most remote territories are in high spirit and doing their respective roles right to echo the resolve of the President to ensure the safety and well-being of our fishermen and the coastal communities in all parts of the country, including the WPS,” Balilo stated.

Whilst in Pagasa, Ursabia commemorated PCG group of workers who’ve been deployed to “uphold maritime law enforcement, maritime security, maritime safety, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection.”

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 group of workers of PCG station in Kalayaan.

“We recognize your heroism in the face of great danger above and beyond the call of duty, most especially in conducting maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea. On behalf of your Coast Guard family and the entire Filipino nation, we thank you for your humble and compassionate public service,” Ursabia stated.

On the similar time, the commandant challenged all of the individuals of the PCG to step up their presence within the WPS and “fly the national flag with a sense of pride.”

Ursabia known the PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Sources vessels that take care of 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 two main objectives that we need to accomplish: stepping up our presence and flying the Philippine flag with a sense of pride because the West Philippine Sea is ours! But then, we should not forget that it is also a contested area,” Ursabia stated.

“There are others claiming that it is also theirs. But of course, we will not surrender the territory. It is ours! Hence, we have to do our part in a peaceful and rules-based manner,” he wired.

Military FOBs

The chairman of the Area Strategic Intelligence Committee has referred to as for the status quo of naval “forward operating bases [FOBs]” within the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, in a information remark, instructed the Philippine Military to safe the realm amid power Chinese language incursions.

“We want the Philippine Navy positioned to prevent China from asserting administrative control over any reefs, rocks or lagoons within our 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone,” he stated.

In line with Pimentel, the Military must post 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 handiest 123 nautical miles west of Bajo de Masinloc.

“We should avoid a repeat of the 2012 incident where China was able to occupy Bajo de Masinloc,” Pimentel wired.

In army parlance, an FOB is a secured outpost that may function a springboard for sustained far flung operations.

“We expect the Navy’s two lead warships to be posted in the FOBs and to routinely operate in the West Philippine Sea,” Pimentel stated, relating to the multi-role guided missile frigates BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna.

Pimentel additionally stated he’s counting at the Philippine Coast Guard to continuously deploy its lead send—the French-made 84-meter offshore patrol vessel BRP Gabriela Silang—within the waters threatened via undesirable Chinese language forays.

“Both the Coast Guard and the Navy should marshal their best defensive fighting assets in the waters where we are most vulnerable,” Pimentel stated.

Within the 2012 standoff, the lawmaker stated, Chinese language coast guard and maritime armed forces vessels blocked get entry to to Bajo de Masinloc. They thwarted the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from accosting Chinese language boats stuck illegally fishing within the house.

As a part of a deal brokered via the USA executive, he stated each China and the Philippines had been meant to withdraw their ships from Bajo de Masinloc.

“However, after the Philippines had pulled out, China reneged and kept occupying the chain of coral reefs and rocks that forms part of the Municipality of Masinloc in Zambales province,” Pimentel added.

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