MANILA – The National Security Council (NSC) said on Wednesday that there were still around 150 Chinese ships in the western Philippine Sea.
This is what the NSC revealed to the House of Representatives during plenary deliberations on the 2022 budget.
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon defended the agency’s budget during the arrest of Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas.
“Kino-confirm po ng NSC na meron by rin ho umaaligid-aligid na Chinese maritime vessels carrying out fishing operations, moving from one place to another. Yun nga po ang mga binabantayan ng counterparts on the Philippine side. Kaya nakikita natin yung challenge na ginagawa ng Filipino ships against these Chinese, ”Biazon said.
He added that there are around 150 ships in the sea area, noting that they are large ships.
“Nag-range of 30 to 60 meter vessels. Mga malalaking bapor din. Ito po yung range of vessel sizes,” Biazon said.
“Its appearance nila mukhang civilian ships kaya tinatawag na maritime militia. They look like civilian ships but you know they have a strategic mission to do there. Pero pagtinignan po natin mukhang civilian,” Biazon said.
“These are civilian ships. Wala namang nakikitang armaments na naka-install sa na yan sila naman po ay hindi ships marked as Chinese Navy ships. On the surface, these are civilian ships. But as we mentioned, they can fulfill certain functions which have strategic value for China, ”he added.
Biazon also told Brosas that the NSC recommends the deployment of civilian ships by the Philippines to assert the rights of the Philippines in the region.
“Isa po sa masasabi natin kinakailangan gawin and nirekomenda is a physical presence in WPS. To enforce or assert the sovereign rights of karagatang yan bahagi in fact Meron ngang panukalang pagkakaroon from mga civilian maritime ships in the wild and research vessels that have been deployed as a member of the WPS strategy. Isa po yan as a member of the NSC, “he said.
“The recommendation of NSC is to increase our presence by patrolling the ocean. And so the recommendation is that we accede to their request for funds for additional ships that could operate. And to continue the diplomatic efforts that our country is making to every time there are incidents involving foreign ships entering the exclusive economic zone, ”Biazon added.
He said the NSC also recommended the acquisition of more military ships for deployment in the region.
“Short of going to war, we believe that sufficient measures are taken by the government. Hindi naman ho siguro natin gusto na kung nagtatayo sila eh gigibain natin yung kanilang tinatayo o kung may nagllayag na ship eh papuputukan natin . Lahat tayo ayaw ng giyera. À ‘yun lang naman ho ang kakulangan, kulang na lang na gagawin natin’ yung pagpapalakas ng ating armed forces and our maritime capability to patrol the seas, natin surveillance capability, diplomatic efforts. that we can do now short of going to war, ”he explained.
Biazon said the Foreign Ministry continues to file diplomatic protests against China’s incursions into the western Philippine Sea.
Western Philippine Sea, National Security Council, House of Representatives, Ruffy Biazon, Budget Bill 2022