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Friday, April 19, 2024

PCG sends BRP Gabriela Silang to patrol Philippine Rise

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The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed on Monday offshore patrol vessel BRP Gabriela Silang for a two-week mission to Batanes and Benham Rise following the directive of PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan.

The said vessel will patrol the vicinity waters to conduct maritime domain awareness, intensify PCG presence in Northern Luzon, and monitor local fishermen, according to PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo.

“We will also check the reported Chinese research vessels in Benham Rise,” Balilo was quoted saying. PCG, meanwhile, noted that air assets of the Coast Guard Aviation Force are on standby for possible augmentation, specifically in performing aerial surveillance.

This development comes after United States Air Force official Ray Powell said in a recent post on X (formerly Twitter) that at least two Chinese vessels were seen loitering around Benham Rise on the north eastern side of Luzon.

Benham Rise, known locally as Philippine Rise, is an underwater plateau within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines. In May 2017, the Philippine government declared it as a “protected food supply exclusive zone.”  

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In February, PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) started holding rotational deployment of vessels in Bajo de Masinloc to protect Filipino fishermen.

China claims most of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.

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