Coast guard readies personnel in case China pushes for exploration of Philippine Rise


FILE PHOTO: One of Philippine Coast Guard Ship

MANILA, Philippines — After one year and three months, rear admiral Joel Garcia turned over the post as commandant of Philippine Coast Guard to Real Admiral Elson Hermogino.

The new coast guard commandant will focus on the agency’s modernization program and in securing the coastal waters of the country.

Hermogino also expressed his willingness to send coast guard personnel to Philippine rise if he will be ordered to do so amid the possible exploration of China in the area.

“If our superior tells us to deploy [our men,] then we will deploy them,” said Hermogino.

Magdalo party-list representative Garry Alejano disclosed that the Department of Foreign Affairs approved a conduct of marine scientific survey by the Oceanology China Academy of Science in eastern Mindanao and eastern Luzon where Philippine Rise is located.

Alejano noted that the survey will run from January 24 to February 25 this year.

Alejano questioned why the Philippines allowed China when it already experienced and witnessed the latter’s reclamation activities in other countries’ territories.

The lawmaker argued that any foreign exploration in Philippine waters should be accompanied by Filipino scientists and that the Philippines will also be allowed to use any data that will be gathered from the area.

Magdalo party-list: “Other countries do not grab our territory. They do not claim our territory, except China. We should be more careful on that matter,” said Alejano.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it the president’s prerogative to allow whom he wants to do such an activity in the area.

“Because the President decided so, as the chief architect of foreign policy. I’m sure as stated by Secretary Alan Cayetano, other countries if they wish, may also apply. Have they applied? I do not think so,” said Roque.

But for Usec. Eduardo Gongona of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, “We cannot just easily allow exploration especially of power and energy, if it will destroy our fish habitat. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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