Skip to main content

Philippine Military starts deployment of troops in Spratlys


 The military yesterday started its rotation of Air Force and naval contingents for deployments in Pag-Asa Island in the Spratlys.
Originally scheduled before Christmas, the airmen were not immediately relieved by their counterparts at Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command (AFP-Wescom) headquarters in Palawan due to the prevailing weather system hovering over the region for the entire month of December.
Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. confirmed the deployment of fresh troops in the island municipality.
Since the sea around the island is very rough, Wescom has started shuttling new Air Force troops to the island town using a Navy plane, giving the islanders a chance to visit Palawan aboard the returning Navy aircraft.
Pag-Asa Island is located within the hotly contested Spratlys archipelago area but is closer by several miles to mainland Palawan than from the coastline of Vietnam, which is laying maritime claim over the region along with China, Brunei and Taiwan.
All claimant countries except Brunei have troops deployed in the region, with China becoming more aggressive in pressing its maritime claim to almost 80 percent of the entire South China Sea by deploying its warships and surveillance vessels to conduct regular maritime patrol over the area.
The other day, Beijing announced the completion of the training exercises of its aircraft carrier Liaoning in the region.
The training exercises almost resulted in a naval confrontation between a Chinese frigate and the US warship USS Cowpens in December.
Aside from the airmen who are deployed on rotation basis in Pag-Asa Island, the seat of Kalayaan Island town with a current population of almost 200 civilian inhabitants including children, contingents from the Philippine Navy are also stationed in the area to bolster the country’s territorial hold over the seven islets and two shoals in the region.
“We don’t monitor any naval activities of China out there because of the prevailing weather. The sea is very rough and it is very dangerous for any ship to venture out in the open sea for now,” Bito-onon said.
He added that he has yet to receive reports from local fishermen if the two Chinese maritime vessels have returned to Ayungin Shoal. The vessels left the area last month after taking up position near the shoal for several months.
Ayungin Shoal is located between Pag-Asa Island and mainland Palawan.
China, insisting that the shoal is an integral part of its maritime domain, has tried to dislodge a contingent of Marine troops stationed in the shoal aboard the grounded Navy logistic ship BRP Sierra Madre.

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…