By Jan Carlo Anolin
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Wednesday that the government is set to increase the number of coast guard and fisheries vessels roaming the West Philippine Sea (WPS), despite the continuous dispute in the waters.
“We have been depending so much on [the] inputs of friendly countries but in a short while, we will have our own equipment in terms of unmanned aerial vehicles [that are] high-flying,” Esperon said in the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
Aside from that, Esperon said he is looking forward to use our own imagery satellite to monitor the activities on the WPS and the arrival of two 84-meter vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) also bought one marine scientific research vessel, which will add capabilities to marine research and study.
“[A]ll we have to do now is to increase our coast guard vessels, our fisheries vessels,” Esperon said, stressing that most of the coast guard’s vessels are 44-meter vessels.
“Gusto na natin paramihin ‘yung mga barko sa navy at ‘yung mga eroplano natin. (We wanted to increase our navy ships as well as our aircraft) It must be a continuous build up of capabilities,” he added.
Esperon assured that the government has improved its ground and has not given up some of the islands in the WPS, contrary to the claims of others that the government is giving away some of the islands.