AFP: Logistics hub, high-res CCTVs eyed to improve WPS patrols

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 10) — The military is set to further improve its naval operations to improve their sovereignty patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Monday said they will soon turn Pag-asa Island in the Kalayaan Island Group into a logistics hub and install a high-resolution monitoring system in its nine occupied features to "improve their situational awareness."

According to Sobejana, based on the orders of the Department of National Defense, at least 10 navy ships have been deployed to monitor the West Philippine Sea. Operations, however, must be improved in such a way that the ships do not have to return to the port in Puerto Princesa in Palawan to refuel and get some supplies, he said.

"Considering na ang West Philippine Sea napakalayo nito sa Puerto Princesa, lahat ng supplies natin at logistic activities ay ginagawa sa Puerto Princesa which is on the opposite side," he said. "Iikot ka pa bago makuha ang pangangailangan ng sailors, even the requirements of naval assets."

[Translation: Considering that the West Philippine Sea is very far from Puerto Princesa, all our supplies and logistic activities are still being done in Puerto Princesa which is on the opposite side. You have to turn to the opposite direction to get the needs of sailors and even the requirements of naval assets.]

Sobejana said Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez highly favored the idea, but the military needs a "substantial amount" to push through with the project.

He said they will make "a very strong representation to the national leadership" to fund the proposed logistics hub.

Meanwhile, the military is also aiming to enhance its security posture in the Philippines' nine occupied stations by putting up high resolution and night vision closed-circuit television cameras connected to the command center to easily monitor the maritime situation in nearby areas.

"We will be transforming itong maliliit na island as static naval assets," Sobejana said. "Doon ise-set up ang elements, navigational aids, CCTVs. Pag nahagip within that coverage of our occupied stations, malalaman kaagad natin ang sitwasyon sa lugar."

[Translation: We will be transforming these islands into static naval assets. We will set up elements, navigational aids and CCTVs there. Once our occupied stations read the situation within their coverage, we get to know what is happening in the area.]

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea previously said the country will continue law enforcement patrols and maritime exercises in Philippine waters despite challenges from Chinese forces.