Skip to main content

Philippines, US to hold war games in South China Sea


Manila: The Philippines will hold joint war games with the United States in March at the same time that the department of energy will award to private firms oil exploration contracts in several areas including an offshore area in the South China Sea which is contested by China, sources said.
The department of energy has already prepared the awarding of 15 service contract areas to oil exploration firms. Announcement will be made in March, said Energy Secretary Jose Almendras, but did not give more details.
Some of the proposed service contracts are in east and northwest Palawan and the Sulu Sea, in southwest and southern Philippines, respectively.
The department of energy launched several contracting rounds since last year, to implement a plan to make the Philippines 60 percent self sufficient in its energy requirement.
The offshore oil drilling areas are in the South China Sea which is being claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Only China has been vocally against the plans of the Philippine government in the South China Sea which the Philippines has called the West Philippines Sea.
Earlier, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that the Philippine government has offered foreign private firm oil exploration projects within its territory, within the country's 200- nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
He referred to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea as a basis of the Philippines' claim in the South China Sea.
It was in response to two former Chinese envoys in Manila who offered joint Philippines and China drilling exploration in the contested areas, to prevent making the South China Sea a flashpoint in the region.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said was quoted as saying that the Philippine government's offer of service contract areas to private firms was illegal, adding, "It is illegal for any country, government or company, without the Chinese government's permission, to develop oil and natural gas in waters under Chinese jurisdiction."
Joint exercises
The joint war games between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States were coincidentally scheduled with plans to announce the granting of service contract areas to private firms.
At the same time, the Armed Forces of the Philippines vowed to secure oil companies exploring in the Philippines, with the help of surveillance planes and patrol ships.
The AFP will spend P 1 billion (Dh 83,333.33) to secure the country's maritime borders with the so-called coast watch system on the country's western flank facing the South China Sea. The project, to be implemented in two years, will cover training, purchase of radars, command and control communication equipment.
Last year, President Benigno Aquino called for US assistance in containing China's flexing of muscle in the South China Sea.
This was done after the Philippine government accused China of launching seven incidents in the disputed South China Sea.
China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim the whole of the South China Sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei claim some parts of the Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea.
------------------------------
  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 17:50 February 29, 2012
  • Gulf News
  • Article Link


Comments

More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.


According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.



Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…