The Philippines is an archipelagic state which means that the country is composed of more than 7,1oo Islands. Has eight times more sea area than land area and have 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles) of coastline.
An official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Chief Asis Perez said, “that our country is buying nearly 100 new high-speed patrol boats to protect our fisheries resources. Since our current fleet is only 20 it is very hard for us to immediately respond on any illegal poaching activity in our territories like poachers from China and Taiwan.”
“This is just fulfilling our mandate. Most of the ordered vessels are 71 short-range boats for coastal patrols and 27 able to go further out to sea and will be delivered this year,” Chief Asis Perez said.
“The ‘law-enforcement’ boats would augment the agency’s 20 patrol boats which protect the fisheries resources of one of the world’s largest archipelagos,” Perez said
He also said that “We need additional vessels. These (new boats) are actually short of our needs but this is all we can afford and my agency is also seeking funding to acquire 10 larger boats that can patrol the high seas.
The Philippine authorities have been arrested numerous Chinese fishermen for allegedly poaching in disputed waters.
Similar incidents involving Taiwan have also occurred, the latest in May off the northern Batanes islands when the Philippine coast guard attempted to arrest a Taiwan fishing boat only to be blocked by the Taiwan coast guard.
The Philippines has recently been seeking to boost its poorly equipped military by acquiring new weapons, and deepening defense ties with allies like the United States and Japan.
The moves come after a series of confrontations at sea between the Philippines and both China and Taiwan.
Tensions have been rising in recent years due to China’s more muscular approach to enforcing its claim to most of the South China Sea, even up to the coasts of its neighbors including the Philippines.
Chinese ships have occupied a reef near the Western Philippines since 2012 following a tense standoff with Philippine ships.
Recently the confrontations between Philippine and Taiwan coast guard ships in their common maritime border have also risen following the 2013 fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino patrols. -Jason E.