PAF Conducts Surveillance Operations in Batanes

Security check Philippine Air Force personnel during the fly-by in Batanes on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Contributed photo
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The Philippine Air Force (PAF) recently carried out a series of maritime surveillance operations to protect the country’s northern frontier. This initiative aimed to identify and deter potential intruders within the Philippine territorial waters. By conducting fly-bys over Itbayat, Sabtang, and Babuyan Islands, the PAF sought to enhance the wide external defense mission of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the northern seaboard.

As part of their complementary mandate, the PAF’s aerial operations provided support to the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) Maritime Air Patrol (Marpat) operations. These efforts focused on the northern tip of Batanes Island, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the area. The PAF’s surveillance operations serve as a vital component in safeguarding the nation’s territory and sovereignty.

During the recent operations, no significant activities or sightings of intruders were reported. This outcome highlights the effectiveness of the PAF’s efforts in deterring potential threats and maintaining the security of the maritime borders. The success of these operations can be attributed to the collaborative approach taken by the PAF, working closely with other branches of the AFP and unified commands.

The decision to intensify surveillance operations and increase troop presence in Batanes was prompted by recent aggressive maneuvers by China within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. China Coast Guard vessels, accompanied by numerous militia ships, have been conducting dangerous maneuvers that impede the activities of Filipino fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc. These actions have raised concerns about the protection of Philippine sovereignty and the rights of Filipino fishermen.

In response to these challenges, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. visited the naval detachment on Navulis Island in Batanes. During their visit, they directed the AFP to enhance the tempo of operations and prioritize the safeguarding of the nation’s territory and sovereignty. Teodoro also emphasized the importance of Batanes as the “spearhead of the Philippines” in terms of the northern baseline, highlighting the need for the development of additional structures in the area.

The PAF’s maritime surveillance operations are crucial in countering these threats and ensuring the comprehensive security of the country’s maritime borders. By collaborating closely with other branches of the AFP and unified commands, the PAF remains committed to a coordinated response. These efforts aim to deter potential intruders and maintain the integrity of the Philippine territorial waters.

In conclusion, the Philippine Air Force’s recent maritime surveillance operations demonstrate their dedication to protecting the country’s northern frontier. Through fly-bys over key islands and close collaboration with other branches of the AFP, the PAF aims to deter potential intruders and safeguard the nation’s territory and sovereignty. These efforts are vital in the face of aggressive maneuvers by China and the need to protect the rights of Filipino fishermen. The PAF’s commitment to comprehensive security within the country’s maritime borders ensures a coordinated response to any potential threats.

Source: The Manila Times

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