West Philippine Sea News and Update

Saithan

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Saithan

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If the US and especially PH can't do something permanent to establish foothold on those islands then China will use it's power to grab it.
 

Saithan

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Some older news, as some like me may be interested in finding out what the hell PH is going to do against China's "build islands and arm them" strategy.


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The head of the Philippine armed forces visited a coral-fringed island his country occupies in the South China Sea this week, a move that could stoke already heightened tensions between Manila and Beijing in disputed waters claimed by both countries.

During Monday's visit, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Cirilito Sobejana commended the soldiers for the role they played in protecting the island's residents and "guarding the country's territories" in the strategic waterway.

The visit comes after recent diplomatic protests made by the Philippines over what it says is the illegal presence of hundreds of "Chinese maritime militia" vessels inside its exclusive economic zone and near its occupied islands.

Chinese diplomats have said the boats were just sheltering from rough seas and no militia were aboard.

Sobejana's trip to Thitu, known to Filipinos as Pagasa, happened on Monday, but information was only made public by the AFP on Wednesday.

Thitu is the biggest of the nine reefs, shoals and islands the Philippines occupies in the Spratly archipelago, and is home to a small number of military personnel and civilians.

"(The troops) are in very high spirit, their level of moral is high especially after our visit," Sobejana told reporters on Tuesday evening, adding he also wanted to inspect the island to oversee plans to convert it into a logistics hub to make it easier for naval assets conducting patrols to refuel.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Philippines, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea, a conduit for goods in excess of $3 trillion every year.

The foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China agreed during a meeting on Monday to exercise restraint in the South China Sea and avoid actions that could escalate tensions.

 

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Poor as Philippines may be. They're not neglecting these important projects.
 

Saithan

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Chinese, Vietnamese ships in West Philippine Sea disperse after coast guard challenge​



Patricia Lourdes Viray(Philstar.com) - July 4, 2021 - 11:31am

MANILA, Philippines — Seven foreign fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea dispersed after a radio challenge by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on June 30.
The coast guard's BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) spotted five Chinese and two Vietnamese ships at the vicinity waters off Marie Louise Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
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"This is Philippine Coast Guard BRP Cabra MRRV-4409. You are within Philippine exclusive economic zone," a BRP Cabra personnel said in a radio challenge on the foreign ships, as seen on a video released by the coast guard.

The PCG asked the foreign vessels to identify themselves and their intention in the area, as well as their last and next port call.
Marie Louise Bank, a feature in the Spratly Islands, is located 147 nautical miles off El Nido, Palawan.

The PCG said BRP Cabra "utilized Long Range Acoustic Device to conduct radio challenge to said vessels, in accordance with the PCG Manual on Rules on the Use of Force within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone."

The coast guard vessel later on the condition of a Filipino fishing ship which was also in the area.

At least 34 Filipino fishermen were on board F/B Xiroxira from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

"The Filipino fishermen said they were able to conduct NORMAL FISHING OPERATIONS in the past two weeks without any untoward incidents at sea," the PCG said in a statement released Sunday.

In May, BRP Cabra and two Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ships also drove away seven Chinese maritime militia vessels at Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese ships were seen "nested or in stationary liner formation" at Sabina Shoal situated 130 nautical miles west of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
The offending vessels left the area after a series of challenges from the crew of BRP Cabra.

 

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PH upgrading existing facilities in Kalayaan Islands: DND​

By Priam Nepomuceno July 22, 2020, 5:52 pm


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UPGRADING FACILITIES. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (center) and several military officials lead the inauguration of the beaching ramp at the Pag-asa Island on June 9, 2020. In a pre-SONA forum on Wednesday (July 22, 2020), Lorenzana said these upgrades of facilities in the Kalayaan Group of Islands are aimed at improving the living conditions of Filipino troops and civilians deployed and living in these islands. (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines is now upgrading existing facilities in the nine islands that comprise the municipality of Kalayaan, with the bulk of improvements centered on Pag-asa Island.

In a pre-SONA forum aired over state-run PTV-4 Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said these upgrades are aimed at improving the living conditions of Filipino troops and civilians deployed and living in these islands.

"For the first time since the 1970s, Pag-asa Island has received major infrastructure upgrades, namely: a ship beaching ramp, and a sheltered port for our fishermen," said Lorenzana, chair of the Security, Justice, and Peace Cluster.

With the completion of these facilities, Lorenzana said it is now much easier to proceed with other projects such as the concreting of the runway (the Rancudo Airfield) and its apron and construction of other structures for the residents and troops stationed there.

Out of the seven islands and two reefs being controlled by the Philippines in the Spratlys, Pag-asa is the largest measuring 37.2 hectares.
Other Philippine possessions in the area include Likas Island which measures 18.6 hectares, Parola Island, 12.7 hectares; Lawak Island, 7.93 hectares; Kota Island, 6.45 hectares; Patag Island, 0.57; Panata Island, 0.44; Rizal and Ayungin Reefs.

Lorenzana earlier said transportation of materials needed to repair and then maintain the Rancudo Airfield will be made easier with the completion of the Pag-asa Island beaching ramp.

"Very significant (as with) the beaching ramp, we can now bring in materials, equipment to continuously repair and later on to maintain our runway (Rancudo Airfield)," he added.

Prior to the completion of the beaching ramp last June, equipment, and supplies could only be brought in by ship who have to anchor 500 meters away from the shore and transfer it to a smaller boat so that it can be carried to the island.

"So it’s very tedious (practice) and very expensive and we can only do that during calm weather," Lorenzana said.
During the "habagat" or southwest monsoon season, even fishermen are very wary to go in the area due to rough weather and large waves.
With a budget of PHP267.18 million, the construction of the beaching ramp on Pag-asa Island is one of several projects aimed at improving the living conditions of the people there.

A total of PHP1.3 billion worth of projects are also in the pipeline, including the repair and concreting of the runway that has been damaged by erosion. (PNA)


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Pretty bold step and a good move by PH. It's only possible with a super power backing you especially considering how China has been spreading.
 

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300kW power plant switched on in Pag-asa Island, West Philippine Sea​


The National Power Corporation (NPC) today, June 12 switches on its 300kW power plant in Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan Island Group at the West Philippine Sea as the country celebrates its 123rd Independence Day.

The Flag Raising Rite and switching on ceremony has been graced by Lt. Rey S. Tibay, Commanding Officer of the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag/Joint Task Unit in Pag-asa Island and Ms. Corazon Claridad from the Municipality of Kalayaan. Barangay and military officials, representatives from government agencies and some residents were also present to witness the momentous event.

NPC has allotted 33 million pesos for the project that covered the supply, delivery and installation of the diesel generating sets, its 13.8 kV distribution line and the fuel oil storage tanks that will ensure continuous fuel supply.

“Following the successful series of test and commissioning of the facility early this week, we have seen that it is only fitting to formally switch on the power plant as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Kalayaan residents raise the Philippine Flag on the island on Independence Day,” said NPC President and CEO Pio J. Benavidez.

Kalayaan Diesel Power Plant will provide round the clock power to the 68 facilities (housing facilities, government establishments and military camps) connected to the local distribution line.

Kalayaan Island, a fifth-class municipality under the Provincial Government of Palawan, has an airport runway, a daycare center, an elementary school, a fish landing center, a naval port, a municipal health center, and a couple of government offices like Comelec and Pagasa weather station. It opened to civilian settlement in 2002. NAPOCOR.GOV.PH

 

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Philippine Navy aircraft patrols, delivers equipment to Pag-asa Island​


The Philippine Navy’s Naval Forces West, through a Britten Norman Islander aircraft, conducted a maritime air surveillance over Kalayaan Island Group and delivered equipment and supplies to Pagasa Island.

Naval Forces West said that on July 29 the Naval Air Operating Squadron–West conducted the said mission.

“The Britten Norman Islander aircraft piloted by Lcdr Jeffrey Guiquing PN as Pilot-in-Command, and Ltjg Gerard Bryan Potato PN as Co-Pilot led the mission to Naval Station Emilio Liwanag, Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan Island Group to deliver items from the Western Command such as care packages for our troops and equipment like television and searchlights to enhance the living condition and security of our brave soldiers in the island,” Naval Forces West said.

“Naval and maritime operations are undertaken by the Naval Forces West in support to the accomplishment of the Western Command’s missions,” it noted.

 

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China law requiring notice from vessels concerning, says top US Coast Guard exec​

By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 06:37 PM September 03, 2021


MANILA, Philippines—A top US Coast Guard (USCG) official on Friday (Sept. 3) expressed concern over China’s new maritime law requiring foreign vessels to give notice before entering waters covered by China’s fictitious nine-dash line claim.
Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, commander of the USCG’s Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Force West, said the law “seems to run directly counter to international agreements and norms.”

“If our reading is correct, these are very concerning, and that’s because they begin to build foundations for instability and potential conflicts if those are enforced,” McAllister said in a teleconference.

China announced that beginning Wednesday, it will require foreign vessels “to report their detailed information” in areas that are part of its territorial waters.

The law would require notice for entry of non-Chinese vessels that included submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances.

The extent of coverage of “territorial waters” was unclear, however, as China claims nearly the entire South China Sea as its territory through its nine-dash line fiction.



McAllister said USCG presence in the region was in part to show support to partners and allies facing China’s aggression and territorial expansion at sea.
He said the United States would continue to work with partners and allies with the goal of being the partner of coast guards in the region.

“Half the world’s commerce and half the world’s population are in the Indo-Pacific; and as leaders in maritime safety and security, we believe we have a role to play,” McAllister said. “And our chief role is to try to contribute to regional stability and security,” he said.

Early this week, the USCG cutter Munro held exercises with the Philippine Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The American ship arrived in the Western Pacific in mid-August and is under the command of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet in the coming months.

“We build and leverage partnerships to enhance the capability and capacity of partner nations to carry out missions that contribute to the common good, things like search-and-rescue, marine environmental protection, enforcing fisheries laws and treaties, addressing human smuggling, counter-drug, counterterrorism, disaster response, and others,” McAllister said.

 
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