MANILA, Apr 26 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines on Saturday conducted maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea as the country filed fresh diplomatic protests against China for its incursions.

The Philippine Coast Guard said it used 8 capital ships with government along with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to intensify their training on navigation, small boat operations, maintenance, and logistical operations.

BRP Gabriela Silang and BRP Sindangan began their training Saturday near Bajo De Masinloc while the BRP Cabra, BRP Malapascua and BFAR Vessels started exercises since last week near Pag-asa Island, said PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo.

Aside from its exercises in Bajo De Masinloc and Pag-asa Island, the ships will also train in the Batanes Group of Islands, Benham Rise, and in the southern and eastern portions of the country, Balilo said.

The Coast Guard is planning to conduct medical and dental missions among local residents and coastal families in the Pag-asa Island next week, he added.

“We are supporting the whole-of-nation approach in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the efforts of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to undertake maritime security, maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection roles in our country’s waters,” he said.

The Philippines on Friday filed two new diplomatic protests against China over its illegal and lingering presence in Philippine waters, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

It had vowed to continuously file diplomatic actions until Beijing’s ships leave the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, which is believed to hold valuable gas and oil deposits.

China’s sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea has been adjudged to have no legal basis by a UN-backed arbitration court in The Hague last 2016. (MNS)

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