Isko wants to modernize Navy and Coast Guard to improve defense of Western Philippine Sea GMA News Online
Manila’s aspiring mayor Isko Moreno on Friday vowed to modernize the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard (PCG) to enhance efforts to defend the country’s sovereignty over the western Philippine Sea.
In a statement citing his radio interview, Moreno said the modernization will also ensure that Filipino fishermen can also fish in the disputed areas freely, peacefully and productively.
“It is high time for us to redirect most of our resources in the armed forces to strengthen our capabilities in this part of our country,” he said.
“This is why, about two months ago, sabi ko will strengthen our capacities with regard to our navy and our coast guards,” he added.
For him, the country should increase the presence of the Tawi-Tawi Navy and Coast Guard in Batanes and invest in strengthening these services since the Philippines is an archipelagic country.
Moreno said a “very strong” stance would help the country cope with China’s activities in the disputed territories, citing a similar strategy by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said two Philippine supply ships on a supply mission in Ayungin Shoal were subjected to water cannons by Chinese Coast Guard vessels on November 16.
Moreno said his administration will focus on legal means to pursue the country’s claim to Sabah, which is located on the island of Borneo south of Mindanao.
âWhat matters most is tulad ng West Philippine Sea, nanalo tayo (like in the West Philippine Sea we won),â he said.
âWe will not hesitate to solve this problem, we will be fair to them and we will be loyal to all Filipinos. This is how we are going to approach it, âhe added.
Sabah has long been the subject of a territorial dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia.
According to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu, the original Filipino Sultan controlled the territory for centuries, but the United Nations in 1963 recognized Sabah as part of Malaysia. – DVM, GMA News