Philippine navy marks ‘interference’ in its ‘electronic capabilities’ in South China Sea


MANILA: The Philippine Navy has monitored “interference” in its “electronic capabilities” during operations in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), an official said Tuesday (Feb 27).

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, however, said the meddling had no serious impact on their overall navigation, maintaining their naval systems remain secure.

Earlier, Trinidad said in a regular press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo that “activities of China in the West Philippines Sea have been going on for quite some time when it comes to interference on our electronic capabilities. It has been going on for the past three to four years, maybe even earlier.”

After the press conference, however, Trinidad clarified that it could not yet be determined which country was causing the interference in their naval operations.

“We have also noted an increase in interference, but we could not say for sure where it came from,” he later told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.

“We can’t say if China did it. The fact is, there is interference in communications,” he further said.

In another interview with reporters, Trinidad said there is a need to conduct forensic tests to determine the source of the interference.

During the press briefing, the Navy official gave assurance that several contingencies are in place to deal with the matter.

“The interference on the electronic equipment did not reach a stage that they will interfere with the navigation; these are more on the communications on land, cellphones, but on the overall impact on the operation, they do not really cause a significant impact,” Trinidad emphasised.

“There are protocols [on] how to address that so rest assured that we have been addressing these issues but we have noted them for the past good number of years,” he added.

Trinidad disclosed the information after the Philippine Coast Guard alleged that the China Coast Guard is using signal jammers on their tracking system at certain times during recent operations in the West Philippine Sea.

The PCG said this briefly prevents Philippine ships from broadcasting their positions in the area.

PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela noted on February 25 that “there were instances” that the vessels could not transmit their automatic identification signals (AIS).

The AIS transmits a vessel’s position so that they could be identified and located by other ships. They are also trackable through ground stations and satellites. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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