The Philippines is mulling over the option of increasing its maritime patrols in response to the continuous “swarming” of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
As Chinese vessels continue to gather in large numbers in WPS, one of the options being looked into is the deployment of more Filipino vessel patrols in the area.
National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, in an interview with CNN Philippines Wednesday, said the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), of which he is also the spokesperson, said.
“There are many options on the table [and] one option of course is [also to] increase our number of ships patrolling in the WPS, both gray ships and white ships.”
Aside from this, there are other options being looked into which Malaya said he cannot reveal at the moment, citing security reasons.
“There are a lot of options that are on the table, which I cannot disclose right now but we are also considering a change of strategy but let me just state for the record that we will not stop fighting for what is ours and we will continue of course to supply our troops of needed supplies and provisions in Ayungin Shoal,” Malaya stressed.
When asked if China also appeared to have shifted its strategy in the WPS by using smaller ships to dog Filipino supply boats and their escorts, the NSC official said this is likely as Chinese are on the losing end in the so-called “David vs. Goliath” scenario.
“To counter this scenario, which is being played all over the world, now the entire world has seen what’s happening in the WPS, they decided to reduce the number of ships from what it was before and utilize smaller ships,” he noted.
But Malaya added that the Chinese still deployed a large ship during the September 8 resupply as back up its smaller vessels as this allowed them more maneuverability to block Philippine ships.
“[They were able to] effectively…block one of our Coast Guard ships but nonetheless our supply [boats were] able [complete] their mission,” he noted.