US helps PH strengthen maritime knowledge – Philippine Canadian Inquirer
MANILA – The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is helping its Filipino counterpart build knowledge of the country’s maritime domain.
USCG Vice Admiral Michael McAllister said in a teleconference on Friday that Washington DC wanted to give Manila the ability and the ability “to spend more time beyond its shores.”
The USCG and the Philippine Coast Guard recently concluded joint exercises in the West Philippine Sea, but McAllister clarified that this does not necessarily mean there was an intention to send a message.
“I’m not going to say that the activity near the Scarborough Shoals was necessarily meant to send a message; but when you think of the Philippines’ claim to their waters, that opportunity to take them further away from shore, do maritime outreach and – where appropriate – enforce laws and treaties within their exclusive economic zone. (ZEE), it just requires us to get them away from the shore, ”he said.
Scarborough Shoal or Masinloc’s Bajo was the site of a tense clash between China and the Philippines in 2012. The shoal is about 124 nautical miles off the coast of Zambales.
McAllister said maritime domain knowledge implies an increased ability to identify activities taking place in a country’s sovereign waters, “with the idea that you would be able to respond to any threat.”
Apart from this, the USCG and PCG had also organized a series of search and rescue and communications exercises as well as small boat operations and multi-ship maneuvers at sea.
USCG Cutter Munro arrived in Subic Bay in Zambales on Tuesday following maritime exercises in the western Philippine Sea. It left its home port of Alameda, Calif., In July for a multi-month deployment to the Western Pacific.
Munro, a 418-foot national security cutter, operates under the tactical control of the U.S. 7th Fleet and participates in capacity-building exercises with partner nations.