By Betheena Kae Unite
Two China Coast Guard vessels were reportedly keeping an eye while the Philippine Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard were conducting capability training exercises in the West Philippine Sea Tuesday.
Captain Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman, said Wedenesday that two big vessels of China Coast Guard were monitoring from a distance while the Philippines’ and United States’ Coast Guard vessels were conducting maritime security drills.
The Philippine Coast Guard, however, said that no further interaction with the Chinese vessels took place aside from them watching from a distance. It appeared that they were only monitoring the exercises, the Coast Guard added.
The U.S. Coast Guard Bertholf and the 56-meter BRP Batangas, a search and rescue vessel; and 24-meter BRP Kalanggaman, fast patrol boat, were utilized during the exercises focused on search and rescue and capability-building training.
The two nations conducted the drills at the disputed waters off Subic Bay to further enhance their capabilities in search and rescue, maritime security, and law enforcement.
Even with the Chinese vessels watch, the Coast Guard said, the exercises of the two nations continued.
Yesterday, the US Coast Guard Bertholf arrived at the Philippine Coast Guard headquarters in Manila.
A welcome dinner organized by the Philippine Coast Guard and the US Ambassador was prepared for the US Coast Guard. The foreign counterpart will also join a basketball friendship game and “brigada eskwela” activities in Manila during their visit.