The Philippine Navy (PN) now has the capability to detect and monitor unauthorized shipping planning to enter Batanes waters. This is due to the installation and activation of the so-called “littoral observatory station” for maritime situational awareness, PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan said in a message to the PNA.
Maritime situational awareness refers to the capability to detect, monitor and if necessary, drive away intruding water craft from one’s territorial waters.
He said that the facility is support to the National Coast Watch System. “Temporarily, it is co-located (at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA in Basco, Batanes) since it is also an inter-agency monitoring tool,” the PN chief said.
No other specifics were given for security reasons.
“We have PN personnel deployed in strategic areas nationwide including Batanes for their roles to secure mission essential facilities used for monitoring activities for maritime domain,” Millan said.
Similar units have also been deployed off Zambales, considered to be the gateway of the West Philippine Sea.
The PN chief is also hoping that with the support of the government and the local government units, the Navy can set up “capabilities for monitoring and response in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Science and Technology, and the local government unit.”