MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Friday said that Chinese-dominated Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hubs near police and military installations so far do not pose threat to the country’s security.
Albayalde told reporters in an interview at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City that foreign businesses usually consider setting up office near a police or military camp for security purposes.
“Ang pinaka-common action ng mga ‘yan ay to find a place nearest to a police station o nearest to a police camp for security reason sa kanila din,” he said.
Some POGO hubs are located near the headquarters of the Philippine Army in Taguig, the Philippine Air force in Pasay and the Philippine Navy in Manila. Other online gaming hubs are located near the headquarters of the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City.
“Kung ikaw ay negosyante, kung ikaw ay merong pwesto or facility na malapit doon sa police station o sa kampo you are already safe,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported on August 20 sightings of Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal within the Philippines exclusive economy zone (EEZ).
According to the military, the vessel remained in Ayungin Reef for almost three weeks.
The AFP Western Mindanao Command reported its first sighting of the Chinese vessel on August 1.
It leaves the area every time it runs out of supply.
“Nagmo-monitor lang sila ng mga galaw ng mga boat nila saka ‘yong sa atin din saka kung ano ‘yong nangyayari doon. They’re just there,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante, the AFP Wescom spokesman.
The official noted that the presence of the Chinese vessel does not interfere in their operations in the area where the BRP Sierra Madre is also docked to serve as a military outpost in the said waters.
“Wala namang conflict na gustong [gawin]. (They are not inviting conflict.) They are just there. Parang tolerating their presence,” Penetrante said.
As of this writing, China’s embassy in the Philippines has yet to respond on the matter. – MNP (with reports from April Cenedoza)
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is seeking to further strengthen its naval and aerial assets following the series of uncoordinated passages of Chinese warships in the country’s waters.
AFP Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas said they have already filed a proposal to intensify naval operations in their area after several Chinese ships were spotted passing through Philippine waters without notifying local authorities.
“Nagsubmit ng proposal na palakasin pa ang naval units dito sa area ng WESMINCOM upang sa ganun nga upang ma-address ang issues particularly dito sa maritime domain natin as far as security is concerned,” he said.
(A proposal has been submitted seeking to strengthen naval units in the WESMINCOM area in order to address the issues, particularly in our maritime domain as far as security is concerned.)
The AFP earlier reported that at least five Chinese naval ships sailed through Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi without prior coordination.
Based on their monitoring, five Chinese ships with bow numbers 998, 964, 195, 853 and 536 had been seen navigating the area between July and August.
The AFP said that aside from the said period, they have also spotted Chinese ships passing through the channel without permission since February.
The military said the vessels ignored radio communications from Philippine patrols.
The Sibutu Strait separates Sulu archipelago from Borneo.
Although considered an international sea lane where foreign vessels have the right of innocent passage, customary maritime law requires warships to coordinate with the coastal state beforehand.
The military said these ships could not claim innocent passage as they took a curved course and not a straight line.
“These previous months mayroon na tayong namomonitor na warships ng China kung kaya’t tuloy-tuloy po ang ginawang monitoring at patrolling ng ating Navy vessels at the same time, ‘yung ating Coast Guard diyan sa Sibutu Passage diyan natin nakikita lagi itong mga warship ng China,” Encinas said.
(These previous months, we have monitored Chinese warships in the area prompting continued monitoring and patrolling operations by our Navy vessels, at the same time, our Coast Guard in the Sibutu Passage where Chinese warships were spotted.)
Encinas added they have also informed the military national leaders on the monitored incursions to engage with their counterparts on the issue.
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