MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III will inspect an upgraded naval post tasked to defend Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea, or the South China Sea, amid territorial issues with the country’s giant neighbor China, Malacañang announced Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino will witness the capability demonstration of the Naval Forces West (NFW) Command Center and the conceptual master plan of the Naval Station Carlito Cunanan (NSCC) in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Tuesday.
He said NFW, the Navy’s primary operational command securing the West Philippine Sea, is at the “forefront” of territorial defense operations in the Kalayaan Island Group.
“Its upgraded Command Center, equipped with secure communications equipment and a satellite-based vessel tracking system, will further bolster our defense capabilities and ensure stability in the area,” Laciera said in a news conference.
Lacierda said NSCC has been “slated for redevelopment,” which includes the rehabilitation of the pier, living quarters, and other support facilities.
“These efforts are in line with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), through which we hope to further improve our defense capacities,” he said.
Lacierda said the government will also commemorate during Tuesday’s event the sacrifice of Marine personnel who “bravely devoted themselves to protecting our territorial and maritime borders.”
“We recognize their hard work and dedication, and in them find renewed inspiration to maintain our commitment to protect our national sovereignty,” he said.
The Philippine Navy is celebrating its 116th anniversary this week.
The Philippines is embroiled in a long-standing territorial dispute over parts of the South China Sea, where the country, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have overlapping claims. (MNS)