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Navy eyes enhanced monitoring stations amid foreign ships intrusions

/ 03:02 PM August 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy is eyeing to strengthen its littoral monitoring stations (LMS) across the country to further detect intrusions into the country’s territory.

Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said LMS allows early detection of foreign ships sailing within the country’s waters.

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“Yung monitoring nung mga vessels natin (The monitoring of our vessels) are done by the littoral monitoring stations of the Philippine Navy. Hindi kailangan ng maraming barko (We don’t need too many ships)… Kung patakbuhin mo siya na mag-monitor (If we sail it to monitor our) ng very vast waters of the archipelago ay mauubos ang pera natin (we will lose a lot of money). So we need littoral monitoring stations,” he told reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday. 

“So ‘yung ginagawa natin (So what we are doing), we enhance the littoral monitoring stations so that we can cover the vast maritime waters, so kung may monitor tayo na mga intrusion (so if we monitor intrusions) to our territorial waters, that’s the time na ipadala natin ‘yung mga barko (we will send our ships),” he said.

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President Rodrigo Duterte  recently issued an order requiring foreign warships to ask for permission before passing through Philippine waters amid reports of repeated sightings of Chinese warships within the country’s 12-mile territorial sea. 

The foreign warships would face “unfriendly” treatment if they failed to do so. 

The Chinese warships that passed through the country’s territorial waters in recent months also switched off its automatic identification system (AIS) and ignored radio warnings from the Philippine military.

 Empedrad said they are currently formulating the rules of engagement to address the unauthorized entry of foreign vessels.

One of the options, he said, is for a Philippine ship to “shadow” the foreign vessel until it leaves the Philippine territory. 

If the ship does not respond to radio challenges or switches off its AIS, an aircraft might be sent to take photos of the ship and escort it away from the country’s waters. 

Another alternative for them is to cross the bow of the foreign vessel but not in a provocative manner. 

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“Ang provocative kasi parang sinasabi na (it’s like saying) your ship is ready for war. We will not be doing that, we are just maneuvering to tell them that they are passing through our territorial waters lalo na pag hindi expeditious ‘yung transit nila,” Empedrad said. /kga

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