DAVAO CITY - The Philippines kicked off a joint disaster response exercise with Japan and Indonesia off the coast of Davao Gulf on Wednesday to improve the country's response to marine disasters.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino said the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX 2019) is a good step to enhance the country's ability to counter marine disasters like oil spill.
The PCG, along with Japan Coast Guard and the Republic of Indonesia–Directorate General of Sea Transportation, practiced putting out a burning oil tanker during the marine pollution exercise.
"Don't be scared of China"
Hermogino also said Filipinos have no reason to be scared of the presence of Chinese patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
"Wala naman tayong kailangang ikatakot," sabi ni Hermogino.
He assured the PCG is addressing all maritime issues concerned with China in a peaceful manner.
The Philippines and China have overlapping claims in the West Philippine Sea, where China has reclaimed land and airstrips and other military facilities.
President Rodrigo Duterte has largely set aside the Philippines' row with Beijing to court trade and investments, but also occasionally criticized China's actions there.
- Report from Berchan Louie Angchay, ABS-CBN News