AFP to beef up monitoring amid ‘volatile’ situation in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2020   •   935

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will intensify its monitoring in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) amid “volatile and uncertain” situation there.

AFP chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay said they will deploy a Japanese-made radar at the the Matinloc gas platform in Malampaya, Palawan which is near the WPS.

“You see, we [decided that] the Matinloc platform [will] be assigned one of the radars coming from Japan to beef up our monitoring capability in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Gapay said they are also eyeing to partner with Japan to develop the military’s cyber defense and security capabilities as well as improve its unmanned aerial systems.

“I think we can partner with Japan in this area, cyber-defense and security which is also one of their thrusts of the Japan Self Defense Force,” he said.

The Matinloc gas platform situated in northwest Palawan has ceased operations last year and is being eyed to be converted into floating monitoring stations for the Philippine Navy due to its strategic location.

Gapay said the situation in the West Philippine Sea remains “very tense” due to the “aggressive actions” of China as well as the activities of the United States.

The AFP chief said China has been conducting its own unilateral exercises in the area while the US has been displaying a show of force as it advocates freedom of navigation.

China has been claiming almost all of the South China Sea despite having no legal basis.

The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan as well have claims in the disputed seas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

PH gov’t to verify reports on foreign ships’ alleged sewage dumping in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government will look into a report that some foreign vessels were allegedly dumping sewage wastes in the contested parts of the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement in response to a report released by US-based geospatial imagery firm, Simularity, which stated that foreign ships have been dumping sewage and human wastes in the reefs of the disputed waters.

“The responsible answer is we are verifying first, we will react if it’s been verified,” Roque said in a press briefing.

“We should accord our neighbors, and our friends the presumption of good faith, when they say something about an issue,” he added.

If the reports are true, Roque said the government would never allow the Philippines to become a garbage dump.

He even cited the incident when the Philippines sent back to Canada its illegally exported trash in 2019.

The Department of National Defense earlier said it is already verifying the report as it noted that the photo accompanying it was supposedly taken on the Australian Great Barrier Reef in 2014.

DND verifying report on ships allegedly dumping wastes in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) is investigating reports of alleged dumping of human wastes by some foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has ordered the Western command, which has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea, to verify the reports circulating online.

“We have taken note of the news circulating online about the alleged dumping of wastes in the South China Sea,” Lorenzana said.

Simularity, a US-based geospatial imagery firm, earlier reported that unknown ships have been dumping sewage and human wastes in the reefs of the disputed waters.

But Lorenzana expressed doubt over the report because of the photo accompanying it seemed to have been taken from a different area.

“The photo of a ship seen dumping waste accompanying the report was found to have been taken in the Australian Great Barrier Reef in 2014. Therefore, this intent to mislead has cast great doubt on the accurateness of the Simularity Report,’ he said.

“We also question the conclusion reached by Simularity from just looking at satellite photos,” he added.

Lorenzana said that while they are confirming and verifying these wastes being dumped in the West Philippine Sea, he said such irresponsible acts, if true, are considered to be gravely detrimental to the marine ecology in the area.

“Despite conflicting claims and interests by states in the South China Sea, all nations must be responsible stewards of our natural resources and environment,” he added.

Coalition calls for strong enforcement of 2016 arbitral ruling anew

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several groups have called anew for the strong enforcement of the 2016 arbitral ruling.

The group Citizens Alliance for Life and the Law of the Sea (CALL of the Sea) called on the Duterte Administration to strongly implement the arbitral ruling regarding the West Philippine Sea. The 2016 arbitral ruling affirmed the Philippines’ territorial claims in the South China Sea against China’s claims.

“What we must now need, moving forward is for us Filipinos and national leaders to speak as one with a clear unmistakable, consistent and emphatic voice on the enforcement of the arbitral award,” according to Atty. Joey Lina, convener of CALL of the Sea.

According to 1Sambayan led by its convener, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, only Filipinos have the right to the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“The constitution expressly declares the stay, the use of reserves and enjoyment of the nations marine wealth in its exclusive economic zone solely to Filipino citizens, clearly the president has no power to allow Chinese fishermen to fish in our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea,

Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Dr. Albert Del Rosario also said that President Rodrigo Duterte betrayed the constitution due to his previous statements regarding the West Philippine Sea.

“Last May 10, 2021, the President claimed his pledge to will ride a jet ski to the Spratlys, plant the Philippine flag there was a pure campaign joke. calling those who believed him as being stupid. This episode contributes to a widening belief among our countrymen that President Duterte betrayed the constitution he swore to uphold, and consequently betrayed his countrymen who rely on him to protect the West Philippine sea,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is not giving up any natural resources in the country’s EEZ.

“We should also propagate an objective understanding of issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea to avoid being clouded by pure emotions which are being exploited by those who seek to divide rather than to unite us in our common goal. On the economic implications of the issue, we need to consistently acknowledge that the natural resources within our EEZ are for our exclusive exploitation,” he said. AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.