PCG spokesman Captain Armand Balilo said Garcia called for a command conference yesterday morning shortly after his arrival honors at PCG grounds, to discuss his policies regarding operations in the West Philippine Sea.
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PCG chief vows to beef up WPS patrol
Robertzon Ramirez, Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Intensified patrol and monitoring in the West Philippine will be the main thrust of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) under its new commandant, Vice Admiral Joel Garcia.

PCG spokesman Captain Armand Balilo said Garcia called for a command conference yesterday morning shortly after his arrival honors at PCG grounds, to discuss his policies regarding operations in the West Philippine Sea.

“High on the agenda are policies on the West Philippine Sea as well as maritime safety,” Balilo said in Filipino.

Balilo added that Garcia also discussed during the meeting the PCG’s preparations for the coming All Saints’ Day holiday during which there would likely be an influx of sea travelers.

He said Garcia also emphasized the need for greater vigilance against terrorism and drug syndicates.

Duterte appointed Garcia as the 28th commandant of the PCG, replacing admiral Elson Hermogino. 

Meanwhile, visiting United States Coast Guard (USCG) chief Admiral Karl Schulz dismissed as mere rhetoric China’s claim that it is engaged in peaceful conduct in the South China Sea (SCS).

“You asked how (I) assess China in the SCS, my personal observation is that China seems to be more focused in advancing their role and expanding their interest in the region,” said Schultz. 

“China talks about the peaceful conduct but then we see man-made islands where there were no islands before, we see runway islands, we see ship cruise missiles and other military capabilities that don’t match that rhetoric,” he said.

“I think given the Coast Guard is part of a US government response, in a multilateral US government partner nation ally, our response is really focused on continuing free and open Indo-Pacific region and that it is based on internationally accepted norms in the rules-based order,” he pointed out.

He cited as an example the Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef that has been turned by China into its airbase.  

“We are clearly seeing rhetoric that says we are not militarizing the region in the past years, now we see the behavior that indicate otherwise. If you look at China’s one belt and road initiative, if you look at it, it is clearly a roadmap that it is trying to increase its access across the globe,” he said.

 

 

 

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