Tolentino wants DND to build naval stations all over the archipelago

Published November 13, 2019, 9:18 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Francis N. Tolentino Wednesday called on the Department of National Defense (DND) to allot a portion of its budget to establish a chain of naval stations in various parts of the country.

Sen. Francis Tolentino is the first to walk the red carpet on the North Wing entrance of Batasan. #SONA2019 (Photo by Rokey Desingano)
Sen. Francis Tolentino (Photo by Rokey Desingano)

Tolentino made the call after Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense committee, sponsored the proposed P191.34 billion budget of DND for next year.

He questioned the administration of the DND and AFP for their failure to allocate a budget for the establishment of additional naval chain stations despite the rising tension of territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The lawmaker underscored the series of unannounced events where Chinese naval warships were repeatedly spotted passing through the country’s territorial waters.

“Several months ago two naval ships passed by our waters–unannounced. Kung hihintayin pa natin yung 2020 budget call baka marami pang dumaan, marami pang mangyayaring ganyang insidente kung hindi mababantayan.” Tolentino said. (Should we wait for the passage of the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget. While waiting, many naval vessels shall have passed through our territorial waters.)

Tolentino recently filed Senate Bill1143, or the Philippine Archipelagic Defense Act, which calls for the government to make a special appropriations fund for the establishment of naval stations from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

Without these stations, the same incident might be repeated since the country obviously lacks naval stations, he said.

“Kailangan natin palakasin ang ating department of national defense, kailangan natin iangat din ang kaledad ng mga armas at kagamitan ng armed forces natin, kailangan na kilalanin din tayo.” he added. (There is a need to strengthen our DND, increase the quality of our arms and equipment so that other countries will take notice of us.)

Tolentino is also a Brigadier General of the Philippine Army (PA) reserve force.