MANILA (UPDATED) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday welcomed the start of joint maritime and air patrols by the Philippines and the US, saying this will help in “safeguarding our shared interests.”
The joint patrols, which will last until November 23, are "a collaborative effort between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Indo-Pacific Command in the West Philippine Sea," Marcos Jr. said in a statement posted on his social media account.
In a separate release, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the Philippines is sending three Navy vessels, two FA-50PH jets and an A-29B Super Tucano light attack plane.
The US will be represented by a US Navy Littoral Combat Ship and a P8-A Orion maritime patrol plane.
"The activity will commence in the vicinity of Batanes and will end in the West Philippine Sea," the AFP also said, referring to the part of the South China Sea inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Plans for joint patrols were suspended in 2016 as the Duterte administration sought better relations with non-traditional partners like China and Russia.
Marcos: A testament to our commitment
"This significant initiative is a testament to our commitment to bolster the interoperability of our military forces in conducting maritime and air patrols," Marcos said Tuesday.
The Philippines has, since 2022, sought more collaboration with the US — its treaty ally — and partner nations like the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
"I am confident that this collaboration will contribute to a more secure and stable environment for our people," Marcos said.
The joint patrols comes weeks after the latest Chinese incursions in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and attempts to block resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre in the West Philippine Sea.
Before returning to Manila on the eve of the Philippines’ joint patrols with the US, Marcos also visited the United States Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees all US military activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Last week, Marcos met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific-Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the US, to urge the Chinese leader to "go back to the situation where both Chinese and Filipino fishermen were fishing together" in the South China Sea.