maritime security

Filipino maritime agencies patrolling West Philippine Sea train under US Coast Guard

Jairo Bolledo
Filipino maritime agencies patrolling West Philippine Sea train under US Coast Guard

MARITIME TRAINING. Personnel of Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies underwent training under the US Coast Guard.

US Embassy in Manila

Filipino personnel acquire skills in maritime enforcement principles, investigations, chain of custody, and prosecutions with the help of the US Coast Guard

The maritime law enforcers with the formidable task of patrolling and defending the country’s vast coastline, including the contested West Philippine Sea, upgraded their maritime capabilities through a program under the United States Coast Guard. 

Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNP MG), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) finished weeks of training under the advanced boarding officer course, where US Coast Guard personnel served as instructors. 

Only last April, these same agencies teamed up with units of the Armed Forces of the Philippine to face off with hundreds of Chinese sea vessels which entered illegally into the West Philippine Sea.

A total of 42 maritime law enforcers finished the course, according to the US Embassy in Manila. The PCG personnel trained from July 12 to 23, while PNP MG and BFAR personnel took the course from July 26 to August 6. 

The US Embassy said the course training was part of the continuous cooperation between the US and the Philippines. The program also sought to enhance the maritime law enforcement capabilities of the Philippine agencies.

The training offered by the US Coast Guard put an emphasis on the more challenging scenarios and tactics from the basic boarding officer course, according to the US Embassy. The US Coast Guard also taught their Filipino counterparts maritime enforcement principles, investigations, chain of custody, and prosecutions. 

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In April, the PCG, PNP MG, BFAR, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were organized to conduct inter-agency patrols when a several Chinese flotillas was spotted in different parts of Philippine waters. The regular maritime patrols continued after that incident.

The PCG also regularly encounters Chinese vessels. The recent one was in July when a PCG ship challenged and shooed away a Chinese Navy ship in Marie Louise Bank near El Nido, Palawan in the West Philippine Sea. 

Filipino maritime agencies patrolling West Philippine Sea train under US Coast Guard

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the joint exercises of the Philippines with the US won’t push through for the meantime. However, cooperation between the Philippines and the United States are expected to continue due to the recalling of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. – Rappler.com 

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.