Philippines protests China warships firing on fishermen off Palawan Island

Manila- In a issued statement the Office of the Secrtary of Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs accused the People’s Reublic China for violating Philippine soveriengty and threatening peaceful relations between the nations in the South China Sea.

"The DFA noted that these actions of Chinese vessels hamper the normal and legitimate fishing activities of the Filipino fishermen in the area and undermines the peace and stability of the region." the statement further pointed out that the risks to safety can only lead to unfortunate insidents if these continue.

The DFA statement, "conveyed to the Chinese Embassy on June 2 its protest over the increasing presence and activities of Chinese vessels including naval assets in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)."

 


Typical Patrol craft fast of the Philippine Navy one of several dozen that serve as the backbone of Philippine defence forces. Effective agianst pirates and insurgents the vessel are no match for larger OPVs or Naval vessels of the region.

This comes after repeated insidents involving aircraft and naval vessels of what is reported to be China’s PLAN, venturing far from its territory and taking as one diplomat put it. "Provocative acts, including the use of Naval gunfire, on unarmed fishing vessels from the Philippines."

 

The DFA statement went on to say that, "This protest, (une 2) follows a series of protests already filed by the DFA since the Reed Bank incident in March of 2011." The Philippines at that time filed a protest at the UN over chinese vessels harrasing a survey vessel of the Philippines in the area.

At present, the DFA protests, consideirng China’s obvious technological and military advantage. A Philippine Senator Franli Drilon. said sunday that the country should limit its actions to that of diplomacy, admitting the Philippines is no match for China. "As a matter of course, the DFA files verbal or written protests as soon as it receives confirmed and actionable reports from the Department of National Defense." the DFA statement went on to say, that they will follow up earlier protets in violation the philippines says for a code of conduct between claimant nations over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

"The DFA noted that these actions of Chinese vessels hamper the normal and legitimate fishing activities of the Filipino fishermen in the area and undermines the peace and stability of the region." the statement further pointed out that the risks to safety can only lead to unfortunate insidents if these continue.

"The actions of the Chinese vessels in Philippine waters are serious violations of Philippine sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction and also violate the ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea."

Nevertheless, both sides agreed to keep the channels of communication open and continue dialogue on the South China Sea issue.

PRESS BRIEFING AND DIALOGUE WITH Philippne Secretary of Defence Voltiare Gazin

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, on behalf of the Department of National Defense of the Philippines, allow me to thank the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and our hosts, the government of Singapore, for giving me this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on responding to new maritime security threats.  That is close to our hearts as Filipinos, the Philippines being an archipelagic state.  As an archipelago surrounded by the maritime environment, maritime security is one of our foremost concerns.  What makes keeping our maritime [surroundings] secure [difficult] is the diversity of challenges within the maritime domain.  This is complicated because the nature of these challenges is both traditional and non-traditional.  They emanate from both states and non-state actors.

In some cases these challenges result from actions by other states, which necessarily make other states like the Philippines worry and concerned.  These actions necessarily create insecurity not only to the government, but more disturbingly to ordinary citizens who depend on the maritime environment for their livelihood.  For example, private business firms engaged in civilian exploration of the resource potential of an area well within Philippines’ jurisdiction bump into naval vessels of a foreign country.   Such a sense of insecurity also results when ordinary fishermen are warned by foreign vessels, prompting them to leave the area.  More critically, insecurity is generated when materials for possibly constructing certain structures are found in areas where almost a decade ago a declaration has been made to refrain from erecting such structure or infrastructure.

In other instances, maritime security challenges come from actions of non-state entities, including terrorists and those who illegally transport people and goods.  Our seas have often been used to smuggle arms and people to support terrorism in the southern Philippines.  Drugs and other goods have also been illegally transported in and out of the country through our waters, and also those who destroy and undermine the environment[al] health of our maritime domain.

Given the complexity of challenges facing the maritime domain, keeping the peace and stability in our seas and islands to safeguard both our political and economic interest is therefore our priority.  In such a complex maritime environment, the capacity for the military to respond to these challenges needs to be developed.  More critically, responding to these challenges needs the expertise and capacities of other entities in our society.  With the premise of the complex nature of maritime security challenges, our own forces need to develop capabilities to effectively address maritime security concerns.   We therefore collaborate with other armed forces to ensure the safety of navigation and peace in our maritime area.  I emphasise that we see our seas as an area of cooperation, not conflict.

It has become apparent that to deal effectively with maritime security challenges, our armed forces must take cognisance of three imperatives: one, provision of specialised support; two, greater interagency coordination; and three, cooperation among military forces.  Complementary to ensuring territorial defence and security, the principal role of our armed forces is providing support to the maintenance of order within and around our borders.  Considering that certain groups such as pirates and international terrorist groups have paramilitary capabilities that cannot be matched by our civilian law enforcement agencies, our armed forces are obliged to meet the challenge posed by these groups.  Moreover, it cannot be denied that organisational structure and equipment of our armed forces make it our most efficient reaction force and search and rescue unit in responding to various incidents within our maritime domain.

However, our armed forces can only cover certain areas such as monitoring, search and rescue, the conduct of responses, and enforcement of laws and policies.  Addressing the root causes of these maritime security concerns, or providing long term solutions such as creating the social conditions for lasting peace and stability, must be undertaken foremost by the civilian agencies of our government specialising in this task.  Considering that addressing maritime security concerns requires a broader national strategy beyond expedient response and purely military actions, our armed forces should specialise in certain areas where its strengths, assets and capabilities can be best utilised.

For example, once our armed forces [have] captured or intercepted … the rich or those transporting illegal goods, they …[inform] our local law enforcement agencies, which work closely with other relevant institutions within our government to ensure that these criminals are dealt with accordingly.  Moving on to the aspects of interagency coordination, our armed forces needs to synchronise its actions in operations in specialised areas to complement the efforts of our agencies.  Addressing maritime security challenges necessitates our armed forces to collaborate with civilian agencies whose expertise and procedures are relevant and useful in fully addressing maritime security challenges.

Therefore, aside from developing our hardware, our armed forces should develop and refine its protocols and procedures to ensure that they are in consonance with relevant policies of other government agencies.  Constant consultations and communications among agencies are vital to ensure that each concerned agency procedure would allow for smooth interface among concerned actors and avoid overlaps in operations.

Towards the end, our armed forces conduct and/or participate in training, exercises and seminars with other government agencies to facilitate information and expertise sharing.  Our tabletop or command-post exercises on maritime security concerns … involve representatives of government and civilian agencies to realistically address the simulated scenarios.

Cooperation among armed forces: addressing maritime security challenges requires militaries to cooperate among themselves.  Indeed, what is needed is the cooperation from and among militaries.  Not only should they cooperate with the civilian institution of their respective governments, but more importantly exercise self-restraint, specifically in undertaking actions which I have previously mentioned disturbed the peace and stability of the maritime domain.  True enough; militaries should work with one another in effectively addressing maritime security challenges.  The robust ties with other forces, which we have developed, allow for dialogue, information sharing and other cooperative activities to ensure that our maritime environment remains free from forces and entities that disturb its peace and undermine its stability.

Pursuing international cooperation remains an integral part of our efforts.  On a final note for the Philippines, the underlying theme in addressing maritime security challenges is cooperation, coordination and collaboration, within our states and across our borders.  Therefore, the goal of our maritime capability enhancement is to maximise the utilisation of our strengths and keeping close coordination with other concerned actors in our common operational endeavours.

Our capability enhancement is also complemented by developing a habit of cooperation with other armed forces.  As maritime security challenges cut across borders and cover various aspects of life, our armed forces capability enhancement to address these challenges is geared towards forging collaboration with the other armed forces in our region and the international community.  Thank you.

Secretary of National Defense, the Philippines