Philippines sends more assets to West Philippine Sea
Intensified operations vs illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing guaranteed
MANILA – Acting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive, the National Task Force -West Philippine Sea said the government will sustain its sovereignty patrols and increase the safety of life at sea operations, particularly within the surrounding territorial waters of Kalayaan town in Palawan Province which enjoys sovereign rights over the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Western Philippine Sea.
The NTF-WPS has coordinated with other agencies for the deployment of more assets under the operational control if the Area Task Forces (ATFs).
ATF-West has nine island detachments in Kalayaan town with the biggest contingent at Pagasa Island. Pag-asa Island hosts the Rancudo Air Field which was built in 1978. The ATF-West covers the Malampaya Gas Field and the resource-rich Recto Bank.
Meanwhile ATF-North covers Bajo de Masinloc, the islands north of Cagayan, Batanes Province, the Philippine Rise and the extended continental shelf. It has its detachments on the islands of Batanes.
In its three-page statement, the NTF-WPS said to complement the existing vessels and aircraft under the ATFs, the national government deployed four Philippine Coast Guard vessels, one PCG aircraft, six BFAR vessels for West Philippine Sea patrols and the PNP MARIG high-speed tactical watercraft and rubber boats for maritime law enforcement in coastal areas.
Incidentally, BFAR and DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the different local government units to implement the establishment of Fishery Management Areas as the DENR proposed the declaration of a maritime protected area covering the Pag-Asa Islands and the eastern side of Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).
The National Task Force – West Philippine Sea is under the National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. (Melo M. Acuña)