AFP Takes Steps to Strengthen Maritime Defense in the Philippines

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Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. announced on Saturday that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has initiated the implementation of the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC) to enhance external security. This comes in response to China’s ongoing harassment of Filipinos in the Ayungin Shoal area of the West Philippine Sea. Teodoro emphasized the importance of protecting the entire territory and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to ensure that future generations of Filipinos can freely benefit from the natural resources within their domain.

The CADC encompasses the acquisition of advanced naval ships and radar systems specifically designed for archipelagic defense capabilities. Additionally, the AFP is seeking other much-needed armaments and materiel, with the support of allies, to safeguard Philippine territory from further incursions by China. Teodoro stressed that this strategic action does not require constant directives, urging commanders and units within the AFP to exert all efforts to operationalize the CADC.

Teodoro also called for increased presence and mobility in areas where the government needs a significant presence, particularly in the West Philippine Sea, where violations of territorial integrity cannot be tolerated. His statement comes in the wake of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for the armed forces to prepare for potential military conflicts at sea to protect Beijing’s interests. While Xi did not explicitly mention the maritime domain, China’s repeated assertions of its vast claim over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, have raised concerns.

Earlier, Teodoro visited Batanes to witness the graduation of 126 Philippine Navy (PN) reservists who will form part of the initial deployment of forces in the northern frontier of the country. The Defense chief emphasized that deploying PN reservists is a crucial step towards strengthening the force and protecting Philippine sovereignty.

During his visit to the Naval Detachment Navulis Island in Itbayat, Batanes, Teodoro, accompanied by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., instructed the AFP to intensify activities with allied countries in the West Philippine Sea. This collaborative approach aims to enhance the security and stability of the region.

The implementation of the CADC and the deployment of PN reservists highlight the Philippine government’s commitment to protecting its territorial integrity. By acquiring advanced defense capabilities and strengthening partnerships with allied nations, the AFP aims to safeguard the country’s interests in the face of ongoing challenges in the West Philippine Sea.

It is essential for the international community to recognize the significance of these developments. The Philippines, like any sovereign nation, has the right to protect its territory and natural resources. The implementation of the CADC and the increased presence in the West Philippine Sea demonstrate the country’s determination to assert its sovereignty while promoting peace and stability in the region.

As tensions continue to rise in the West Philippine Sea, it is crucial for all parties involved to engage in peaceful dialogue and respect international law. The Philippines remains committed to finding diplomatic solutions to the ongoing disputes and encourages other nations to do the same.

In conclusion, the implementation of the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept and the deployment of Philippine Navy reservists signify the Philippines’ dedication to safeguarding its territory and asserting its sovereignty. By enhancing defense capabilities and strengthening partnerships with allied countries, the AFP aims to protect the rights and interests of the Filipino people. It is imperative for the international community to support peaceful resolutions and respect the Philippines’ territorial integrity in the West Philippine Sea.

Source: The Manila Times

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