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AFP, DND told to maximize deployment

PROTEST BUOY. Fishermen in Masinloc, Zambales release a giant buoy effigy on Monday at the island of San Salvador to convey their hunger and anger toward China because of the Chinese maritime militia’s continued harassment and aggression of Filipino fishers at Scarborough Shoal. Joey O. Razon
Vince Lopez & Rey E. Requejo

President Marcos directed the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to maximize the deployment of forces as the country faces current and future geopolitical challenges.

“As we move now from focusing on ensuring internal security for the country, we now have to bolster the country’s external defenses. And I exhort the DND and the AFP to maximize and strategically review the deployment of our forces to ensure that their strategies remain responsive to the current and future geopolitical realities,” Mr. Marcos said during the 67th Founding Anniversary of the Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM) in Sangley Point, Cavite.

“Let us also continue harnessing the skills of our specialized units in preparing for all contingencies. The NAVSOCOM, with its expertise in Sea, Air, and Land, or SEAL, operations, must be utilized to support naval defense and enhance maritime security,” he added.

The President also encouraged the Navy to strengthen their unit’s capabilities by partnering with forces from like-minded states toward upholding shared commitment to freedom of navigation, peace and stability, and the rule of law.

As this developed, a group of fishermen in Masinloc, Zambales released a giant buoy effigy on Monday in the island of San Salvador to denounce China’s continued harassment and aggression at Scarborough Shoal.

The Association of Masinloc Fishermen said the giant buoy, with the inscription “Atin Ang Pinas,” represents the fishermen’s claim on their source of livelihood.

According to Kagawad Richard Pascual, the incoming barangay captain of the island of San Salvador, the island is dependent on the bounty of the ocean.

“The constant harassment and aggression against our fishermen in the Scarborough greatly affects their livelihood,” Pascual said.

“Our only appeal is the peaceful sailing in our ocean to secure livelihood for our family,” he added.

The Philippines is preparing to file an environmental case against China over the “destruction of marine habitat” at the West Philippine Sea early next year, the Department of Justice earlier said.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he hopes to file the case by January or in March at the latest.

Remulla said the decision to file a case was reached during his meeting with Filipino legal experts on the action the government should take over the “environmental destruction” being committed by China in the country’s exclusive economic zone, particularly in the WPS.

“We were encouraged to pursue what we think is a good case on behalf not only of the Filipino people but also of the rest of humanity,” Remulla said.

“We believe it is ripe for the world to know the loss we are suffering because of what China is doing in our sea, and this action could benefit the entire world,” he added.

Remulla said part of the evidence gathered to back the case was the documentation and videos taken by the Philippine Coast Guard.

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