The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed one of its vessels in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) to further strengthen its presence there upon the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself.
PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu deployed the BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) to Sandy Cay and Pagasa Island as the government moves to promote the KIG as a tourism area, particularly the islands of Lawak, Likas and Pagasa.
Coast Guard spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said the vessel accommodated a repair and maintenance team for its command post in Lawak and eight members of the Philippine National Police Special Operation Unit-Maritime Group who will be deployed to Pagasa.
While in KIG, the Melchora Aquino sighted Chinese vessels in different waters of Kalayaan.
“PCG personnel also monitored eight foreign fishing vessels through Radio Detection and Ranging and Automatic Identification System [RADAR/AIS] with visual confirmation at the vicinity waters of Menzies Reef conducting fishing activities using superlight,” Balilo said.
“They also reported the presence of two more foreign fishing vessels at the vicinity waters of Lawak Island,” he added.
Meanwhile, Navy chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. also visited over the weekend soldiers who were deployed in different island stations in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Adaci flew to the KIG and huddled with troops at Pagasa, Parola and Likas Islands, and led the ribbon cutting and blessing of the newly constructed administrative and research building at Parola and Likas islands.