MANILA - Eighty-one female officers have completed a special radio operators course to become the country's "voice of peaceful and rules-based order at sea," the Philippine Coast Guard said Tuesday.
Dubbed "Angels of the Sea," the all-female unit will patrol the country's various maritime jurisdiction, including the West Philippine Sea, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo told Teleradyo.
He said they noticed that the atmosphere became different when foreign ships, including the Chinese Coast Guard, talked with female radio operators.
"Medyo nagiging soothing. 'Yong environment nagiging kalmado at hindi nagtataasan ng boses. Parang nagsi-symbolize siya na peaceful, na rules-based dapat tayo," Balilo said.
(It becomes soothing. The environment becomes calm and no one's raising their voice. It symbolizes that we should be peaceful and rules-based always.)
The female officers graduated from the radio operators course on June 25. They spent weeks of honing their communication skills to uphold maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, and security at sea.
Some members of "Angels of the Sea" would also be taught Chinese as part of their program, Balilo said.
Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya, PCG deputy commandant for operations, has said they recognized the importance of having female radio operators to defuse tension and avoid confrontation.
"We want our 'Angels of the Sea' to become the voice of peaceful and rules-based order at sea, especially in our country's sensitive maritime frontiers," he said in a statement Monday.
The Philippine government has filed diplomatic protests against lingering presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
According to a repot from geospatial intelligence firm Simularity, the number of ships within the country's exclusive economic zone already increased from 129 to 238.