More PH civilian law enforcement ships needed in WPS: Esperon

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – There is an urgent need to acquire more civilian law enforcement vessels to secure the vast and rich waters of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Monday.

He made this comment when asked whether the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) could escort Filipino fishermen planning to make expeditions in the WPS.

"Gusto nating gawin yung, gusto nating gawin yun (pero) alam mo napakalawak ng, alam mo ba yung karagatan natin dyan ay mahigit na 300,000 square miles, maski na lagyan mo ng isang barko sa isang square miles ay wala tayo nun (We would want to that, but you know our waters there are so vast, exceeding 300,000 square miles, that we can't even deploy a ship per square mile even if we wanted to)," Esperon said in a radio interview.

Esperon, who is also chair of the National Task Force for the WPS, said this is the reason why they are pushing general maritime patrols and deployment of all government agencies tasked to secure these waters.

He also said there is a need for the country to beef up the PCG and BFAR fleets to allow them to perform more effectively.

"Kailangan magdagdag tayo ng pwersa natin dyan lalo na sa Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries (We need to add more forces there especially the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries)," Esperon said.

He also pledged to further enhance the country's investments in security and beef up its stations and outposts in the WPS.

"Tayo naman very specific, tibayan natin yung ating stations at dagdagan natin ang ating investment sa security, kung magagawa natin yan ay papakinabangan natin yung ating 'blue economy' dyan, napakalaki nyan, napakalaki ng ating blue economy, ang ating karagatan ay tatlong beses, pitong beses na kasinlaki ng ating lupain (We are very specific, we will further improve our stations and commit more investments in security. If we are able to do that, we will be able to harness our 'blue economy', our 'blue economy' is so vast, our waters are three to seven times bigger than our land area)," Esperon added. (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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