MANILA - The Philippine National Police will deploy its maritime assets to assist the Navy and Coast Guard in securing the West Philippine Sea, its chief said Monday.
Gen. Debold Sinas said he has ordered the PNP Maritime Group to conduct patrols in support of other government agencies.
"Ang PNP po ay laging sumusuporta sa AFP sa lahat ng threat sa ating bansa. Ang unang nakatalaga diyan ay ang Philippine Navy. Kami naman ay nakahandang sumuporta sa kanila para po pangalagaan ang karapatan natin sa West Philippine Sea," Sinas said.
(The PNP is always ready to support the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to fight threats against the country. The Philippine Navy is in charge there, but we are ready to support them to protect our rights in the West Philippine Sea.)
Chinese ships have been monitored in the West Philippine Sea since last month and have refused to leave despite repeated calls and diplomatic protests by the Philippines.
China's sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea had been invalidated by a UN-backed arbitral court in 2016.
The United States, Japan, Australia, Canada and United Kingdom have criticized China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
The PNP Maritime Group said it can patrol littoral areas initially.
"We are very much willing to help in this endeavor. As a matter Of fact, we are now conducting regularly the coastal patrol, seaborne patrol in the areas of Region 1, Region 3, Region 4B and Palawan, and these areas are facing West Philippine Sea," Maritime Group Director PBGen. John Mitchell Jamili said.