MANILA – Malacañang has approved the procurement of additional multirole vessels and aircraft to improve the operation capability of the Philippine Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other areas.
“The arrival of additional assets, which pale in comparison to the size and numbers of the Chinese Coast Guard, will take several years to complete. So it is not meant to match up with them but rather to measure up to the PCG’s mandated tasks under Republic Act No. 9993,” the Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma on Monday said.
Coloma made the statement in an email to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He also added in the statement that the “additional operational assets” of the Department of Transportation and Communications-attached agency would “address maritime safety, search-and-rescue and environmental protection concerns not only for the West Philippine Sea but for the whole country.”
He added that the PCG will “operate within the bounds of international laws that the country has acceded to.”
Meanwhile, on talks about the disputed territories in the West Philippine sea, Coloma said that the command “fully supports the efforts of the government in seeking a diplomatic solution to the disputes.”
The West Philippine Sea is claimed in part or in whole by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
President Aquino, has earlier announced that the country will receive a $184-million soft loan for the PCG’s acquisition of patrol boats from Japan International Cooperation Agency.