MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy announced it is recruiting at least 4,000 new members in the next 2 years.
The recruitment is meant to address “personnel deficiency” in the Philippine Navy at a time when the country is engaged in volatile maritime disputes in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea). The navy has a current strength of 20,000.
“It will augment personnel of the navy due to normal attrition and due to manning requirements of upcoming vessels if the navy,” said navy spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic on Wednesday, February 5.
Among the weakest in Asia, the Philippine military is shifting its focus from internal security to territorial defense. It is also acquiring new warships and fighter jets among other assets to improve its capability to monitor the disputed waters.
The navy will conduct mobile recruitments in La Union, Legaspi, Cebu, Palawan, Davao and Zamboanga. The navy recruitment center in Taguig City also doubled its schedule of examinations.
“The navy hopes to convene at least 100 candidates for Naval Officer Candidate Course (NOCC) and 1,900 candidates for Basic Seaman Course (BSC) this year and same on the year 2015. The new recruits are expected to fill up the specialized positions in line with the navy’s capacity and capability upgrade,” Fabic said.
One of the flashpoints in its maritime dispute with Beijing, the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough), has been occupied by Chinese ships since April 2012 when the Philippines withdrew its ships after a weeks-long standoff.
Panatag is a rocky sandbar off the coast of Zambales. It is within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as defined by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. The Philippines has filed an international arbitration case. – Rappler.com