Philippines eyes civilian sail, more South China Sea patrols

Philippines BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) (right) and USS Gabriel Giffords (LCS 10) during a tactical exercise between Philippines and the United States in the West Philippine Sea on Nov 23, 2023. - AP

MANILA: The Philippines has allowed civilians to sail in the South China Sea and is planning more joint patrols in the area amid a dispute with China.

"Many countries” have expressed interest to join the nation in patrolling contested waters after similar activities with the US and Australia, National Security Council Assistant Director Jonathan Malaya said at a forum Tuesday (Nov 28). He did not specify which countries are seeking patrols with the Philippines.

The council is also coordinating with civilian organisations planning to deploy some 40 ships in the disputed sea for a "Christmas convoy” to deliver goods to soldiers and fisherfolk next month.

"There are some logistical issues that have to be resolved,” Malaya said.

The civilian sail will go to the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal - the site of recent tense encounters among Chinese and Philippine vessels - "as far as practicable,” the security official said. The sail’s organisers were advised against going inside the shoal and boarding the ship that serves as the Philippines’ military outpost in the disputed sea, he added.

The Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has stepped up efforts to assert its claims in the South China Sea, repeatedly protesting alleged harassment by Chinese vessels in the area. China has maintained its maritime actions were lawful and professional.

Amid the maritime dispute, Marcos has also bolstered the Philippines’ longstanding defense alliance with the US, expanding America’s access to military bases and recently resuming South China Sea patrols. Australia also launched similar patrols with the Philippines over the weekend.

Manila is also working closely with Japan for a reciprocal access agreement, Malaya said Tuesday. The potential pact was also tackled during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Manila visit earlier this month. - Bloomberg

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Philippines , south china sea , civilian , sail , patrols


Next In Aseanplus News

Cheng Hoe hits the ground running in Thailand
Indonesia polls: Police name seven suspects in annulled Kuala Lumpur election
Norway's King Harald gets pacemaker implant in Langkawi
Asean News Headlines at 9pm on Saturday (March 2, 2023)
Athletics: Tentoglou soars to second world indoor long jump title at world indoor championships
Singapore President Tharman welcomed as Chief Scout with record-setting human formation of scout emblem
Indonesian poll body in hot water after string of tech failures
Thailand expects more than 20,000 Chinese tourists a day as free visa starts
Nearly 700 new wildlife species found in South-East Asia, says biodiversity centre in the Philippines
Vietnam and Italy see strong potential in agriculture cooperation

Others Also Read