Philippines deploys more government assets in West Philippine Sea

The Philippines has deployed more government assets in the West Philippine Sea in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to sustain sovereign patrols, increase safety of life at sea, and intensify operations against illegal fishing, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said.

NTF-WPS said it has coordinated deployment of more assets under the control of Area Task Force (ATF) West and ATF North.

“ATF-West maintains nine island detachments in the Municipality of Kalayaan with the biggest contingent at Pag-asa Island, the seat of the Municipality,” NTF-WPS said in a statement April 21. “ATF-North covers Bajo de Masinloc, the islands north of Cagayan, Batanes Province, the Philippine Rise and the latter’s Extended Continental Shelf (ECS).”

NTF-WPS said as augmentation to vessels and aircraft currently under the control of ATFs West and North, 4 Philippine Coast Guard vessels, 1 PCG aircraft, 6 Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels were deployed for WPS maritime patrols.

Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) high speed tactical watercraft and rubber boats were also deployed for maritime law enforcement in the coastal areas.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Western and Northern Luzon Commands continues to support law enforcement and sovereignty patrols of the BFAR, PCG and PNP, utilizing Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) maritime and air assets under its disposal,” the NTF-WPS said.