Philippines, China coast guard to hold maritime search and rescue drill next week
The Philippine and China coast guard will conduct maritime search and rescue exercise for the first time next week.
Capt. Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, said the exercise will be conducted in Manila Bay on Wednesday as part of the four-day visit of China Coast Guard vessel and its crew in Manila.
Balilo said the vessel will arrive at Pier 15 in South Harbor, Manila on Monday and will be given an arrival honors on Tuesday.
He said the drill will be participated by personnel of the special operations force and two vessels from Philippine Coast Guard and the Chinese Coast Guard vessel and its crew.
During the visit, PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said the PCG will have a bilateral meeting with the Chinese Coast Guard delegates headed by CCG Director General Major General Wang Zhongcai.
Garcia said the territorial dispute may not be discussed, but he will push for the "mechanism for the safety of fishermen and conservation of living resources" in West Philippine Sea.
"One of our agenda is to push for the mechanism for the safety of fishermen and conservation of living resources. So aside from that we will also push for humanitarian assistance activities and exercises and communication protocol in South China Sea," he said.
"We should clarify how are we going to have a protocol that they (CCG) will not harass our coast guard vessels. They will not harass our fishermen. That is why we will sit with them to discuss and clarify this, so that once and for all we are for a win-win situation," said Garcia.
"We will not talk about, what is ours, this is yours (referring to territorial disputes) for sure there will be no understanding. What we are going to talk here is the common interest, the maritime governance, because when you speak about maritime governance, we're talking here of common heritage of man which is the leaving resources which is the sea," he added.
Garcia added that the outcome of the bilateral meeting between China and Philippine Coast Guard can also be applied to other countries who also occupied other features in West Philippine Sea.
"Whatever outcome of this (bilateral meeting), we may have a template of mechanism for safety of fishermen and conservation of living resources which we can also offer to Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan," he said.
Garcia said in Spratly Islands or Kalayaan Island group, there are 30 features occupied by Vietnam, nine occupied by China, He added nine are occupied by Philippines, five by Malaysia, one by Taiwan and one by Brunei.
He also noted the significance of the bilateral meeting for security of the Philippines and the Indo- Pacifc.
"Our meeting with China is very important not only for the security of our country but also on the security of the Indo-Pacific," Garcia said. Robina Asido/DMS