The first-ever trilateral maritime exercise between the coast guards of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines will kick off in the waters off Mariveles, Bataan this week.
The Philippine Coast Guard said the trilateral maritime exercise, which will run from June 1 to 7, would reinforce interoperability through communication exercises, maneuvering drills, maritime law enforcement training, search and rescue, and passing exercises.
As this developed, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said it is time for the Philippines to submit a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly to seek China’s compliance with the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that rejected its massive claims in the South China Sea.
“I’m in favor of bringing the issue to the UN. We must sponsor a resolution, (and) submit it to the General Assembly that China must comply with the arbitral award of July 12, 2016. That will be put to a vote. I think we will win there,” Carpio said.
“Remember, the majority of the members of the UN General Assembly are coastal states. They are afraid that their big neighbors might seize their exclusive economic zones. They don’t want their big neighbors to follow China…They will be supporting us because by supporting us, they are preserving their own exclusive economic zone,” he added.
China has dismissed the 2016 arbitration ruling, calling the decision “illegal and invalid.”
Amid tensions in the South China Sea, participating PCG personnel in the trilateral maritime exercises will demonstrate a scenario involving a suspected vessel involved in piracy.
A joint law enforcement team from the three countries will then conduct a boarding inspection followed by a search and rescue operation, the PCG said.
The PCG said it will deploy BRP Melchora Aquino, BRP Gabriela Silang, BRP Boracay, and one 44-meter multi-role response vessel for the maritime exercise.
The US, on the other hand, will send USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752), while Japan will deploy its Akitsushima (PLH-32) for the exercise.
“The US Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been assisting us in our human resource development program, particularly in law
enforcement training,” said Coast Guard Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan.
“This is a good opportunity to thank and show them what our personnel learned from their programs,” he added.
Expected to grace the event are US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Embassy of Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Kenichi
Matsuda, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, and JICA Chief
Representative in the Philippines Takema Sakamoto.
An arrival ceremony will be held at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila on June 1 to welcome the USCG and JCG contingents.