Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo has visited the now-idle gas platforms Nido and Matinloc to see if those could be converted into littoral monitoring stations to beef up the country's maritime security, the Philippine Navy said Sunday.
The Navy commander visited the facilities off Malampaya in northeast Palawan on Sept. 26.
“This inspection intends to look at the viability of these retired gas platforms to be converted into observation posts for the Recto Bank and Malampaya gas platforms, Bacordo said.
“This will further enhance our capability to protect our maritime interests in these strategic locations.”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines plans to convert the two gas platforms into Navy’s observation posts.
The platforms' location is deemed to be "strategic and vital" due to its proximity to the Recto Bank, Malampaya and Galoc Gas Fields.
The Malampaya Gas Field is 820 meters deep and 80 kilometers off the coast of Palawan, which falls under the area of responsibility of Naval Forces West.
The future littoral monitoring stations of the Navy are a welcome addition to its improving capability to better serve the country, especially in its critical location near the nation’s source of natural gas.
The Department of Energy last year stopped the over 40 years of production operations of the two gas fields.
The department offered the transfer of ownership of these platforms in several meetings of the National Task Force in the West Philippine Sea. It is the Defense department’s position to acquire the platforms and to transfer it to the Armed Forces.
Former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to seek the support of other countries to pressure China into complying with the 2016 ruling of a UN tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s excessive claims in the South China Sea in favor of the Philippines.
“Please, Mr. President, get the support of other countries to pressure China to comply with the arbitral ruling,” Del Rosario said, referring to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that Duterte invoked this week before the UN General Assembly.
Del Rosario also lashed back at presidential spokesman Harry Roque for questioning his personal qualifications.
“We wish to say that this is not about me. This is about our countrymen and the West Philippine Sea,” Del Rosario said.
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