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Senate to conduct probe on Scarborough standoff

MANILA, Philippines -- The Senate committee on foreign relations will conduct its own inquiries on the issue concerning the West Philippine Sea particularly the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) and Kalayaan Group of Islands Friday.

“The hearing will focus on the legal and political repercussions arising from the standstill between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China brought about by their opposing claims over said areas,” Senator Loren Legarda, head of the Senate committee, said in a media advisory Thursday.

Maritime zones bills and proposed measures on archipelagic sea lanes will also be discussed in the hearing she added.

Invited to attend the hearing were Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura Del Rosario, Assistant Secretary for legal affairs Irene Susan Natividad, Asst. Secretary for Ocean Concerns Gilberto Asuque, Special Concerns executive director Antonio Morales, Secretary General of the Commission on  Maritime and Ocean Affairs Secretariat Atty. Henry Bensurto Jr., State Counsel Fretti Ganchoon;

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP chief of Staff Lt/Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, Philippine Navy Vice Admiral Alexander P. Pama, Philippine Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral Edmund Castor, Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research head, Prof. Rommel Banlaoi, Atty Jay Batongbacal, Prof. Merlin Magalonna, and Atty. Harry Roque of UP College of Law; and Prof. Clarita Carlos of UP Dept. of Political Science.

| April 26, 2012 | Article Link


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Special Forces assault boats to beef up patrols in Davao Gulf
Special Forces assault boats will soon patrol Davao Gulf to detect and deter piracy and terrorist threats in southern waters.

Two of these boats were formally turned over by Special Forces Regiment commander Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey to Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in Davao City on Tuesday, the EastMinCom said in a statement.

Madrigal said the boats will be “an additional capability in securing the municipal waters in the area of responsibility, particularly Davao Gulf, to preempt terrorists, piracy and other security threats from using the sea lanes in their terrorist and criminal acts. It can also be used for water search and rescue operations.”

The boats have counter/anti-terrorist capability and will be manned by Special Forces Riverine troopers.

The boats will be initially deployed with Joint Task Force Haribon which has the jurisdiction of Mega Davao, the Eastern Mindanao Command said.