The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the United States Coast Guard held a joint maritime exercise in waters near Subic, Zambales on Tuesday, August 31.
PCG ships under the Task Force Pagsasanay unit, namely BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407), BRP Capones (MRRV-4404), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel BRP Lapu-Lapu (MMOV-5001), represented the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard sent Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) and an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Scan Eagle. The joint exercise focused on vessel communication, multi-vessel maneuvering, and emergency response operations.
According to PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr., the joint exercise is both beneficial for the country’s ties with the US, as well as for the PCG’s capabilities in responding to local threats.
“The success of the joint maritime exercise between the PCG and USCG will not only strengthen international partnerships for immediate response to calamities and disasters but will also ensure that our personnel could effectively perform their mandated functions in countering terrorism and other acts of lawlessness in our country’s waters,” Ursabia said.
Although the Philippines has yet to launch joint maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea with foreign allies, its maritime exercise with long-time allies like the US continues especially after the recalling of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. In August, the PCG, along with other maritime agencies, trained under the US Coast Guard.
The continuous enhancement of the PCG’s maritime capabilities is essential to the country’s maritime security because the PCG leads the maritime patrols in Philippine waters at the height of Chinese threats.
The PCG regularly confronts Chinese vessels. In July, a PCG ship challenged and warded off a Chinese Navy ship in Marie Louise Bank near El Nido, Palawan in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com