AFTER the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel BRP Cabra’s successful challenge against a Chinese navy warship, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday said that higher budget is needed to provide much-needed support for patrols in the West Philippine Sea and ensure protection of our fishermen and territorial waters.
“Ang galing ng ating David sa kanilang Goliath. Super lodi ang ating Coast Guard lalo na’t limitado ang kanilang resources. Kailangang bigyan sila ng saktong budget para mas marami pa silang matulungan (Salute to our David to their Goliath. Our Coast Guard is doing a commendable job with the limited resources available to them. We should provide them with more budgetary support so that they could do more),” Pangilinan said.
The PCG on Monday, July 19, confirmed that BRP Cabra challenged Chinese Navy Warship 189 in the Marie Louise Bank in the West Philippine Sea on July 13.
Located 147 nautical miles from El Nido, Palawan, BRP Cabra spotted the Chinese ship and issued a radio challenge that was ignored.
Moving closer to the Chinese war ship, PCG personnel led by Commander Erwin Tolentino issued another verbal challenge using a long-range acoustic device (LRAD).
It was only then that the Chinese ship began moving away from Marie Louise Bank.
“We commend our brave PCG personnel for asserting our territory and rights within our exclusive economic zone. We thank them for their invaluable contributions in protecting our territorial waters including the livelihood of our fishermen. Pagkain, buhay at hanapbuhay ang nakataya,” Pangilinan said.
Noting that the PCG’s budget for 2021 is lower than its 2020 budget, Pangilinan said that giving support to the PCG signifies deeper commitment to assert our claim over West Philippine Sea.
“Biruin nyo, 80% ng ating territoryo ay mga katubigan ngunit kakarampot lamang ang budget upang protektahan ito. Pinagkakasya lang ng ating mga magigiting na Coast Guard. Supporting the Coast Guard means supporting our stand on the West Philippine Sea,” Pangilinan said.
PCG’s P13.2 million budget for 2021 is 13% lower than its 2020 budget of P15.22 million.
The senator has earlier proposed the creation of a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic resources to better allocate resources for Philippine maritime assets.
Pangilinan commits to supporting higher budget allocation for the PCG in the upcoming budget deliberations for 2022.