AFP eyes military militia in WPS
AFP eyes military militia in WPS
AFP eyes military militia in WPS
by Mary Antalan11 August 2023
Photo Courtesy: Michael John Paclar/PIA-Lanao del Sur photo

The government is planning to deploy naval reservists in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to counter the suspected presence of Chinese maritime militia in the area, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Romeo Brawner Jr. on Thursday, August 10.

During a press conference at Western Command (Wescom) headquarters in Puerto Princesa City, Browner confirmed that putting a reserve force in WPS is part of the government's plan.

"When we say reserve force, it’s not just land-based forces, so we are also trying to develop our reservists who will be able to operate in the sea," he said.

According to Brawner, the plan is now in its initial stage, but more funds are needed to purchase vessels that would make the plan effective.

"We have established these units, but we are going to wait for the platforms or vessels that they will use," the AFP Chief said.

"It depends on the funds, but definitely, we are pursuing that direction," he added.

Brawner made the claim in response to Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos of AFP Wescom revealing that "more than 400" foreign fishing boats are operating in the WPS, with over 85% of them being Chinese boats, even though it is within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The existence of the alleged Chinese marine militias is consistent with China's claim that it controls practically all of the South China Sea through its nine-dash line, including the WPS.

However, this was contested by the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which later threw out Beijing' sweeping claim.

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