THE PHILIPPINE Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday that the President has authorized the purchase of two aircraft that would be used by the PCG in monitoring Philippine areas in the South China Sea.

Making the announcement a day after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. graced the 122nd PCG anniversary, Spokesman Armando A. Balilo said the aircraft would be on top of procuring 40 units of 15-meter fast boats.

“The President has also given us the go signal to start the bidding process of two units of 19-seater airplanes that would be used to intensify our maritime domain awareness (MDA) over the West Philippine Sea,” Mr. Balilo told reporters.

He said the PCG is targeting aircraft that would complement the vessels deployed to areas in the South China Sea that fall within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and “other areas of concern while on patrol operations.” 

The PCG earlier asked senators for about P90 billion to buy 30 flag-bearing ships to boost patrols in the disputed maritime areas.

Last month, Vice Admiral Alberto B. Carlos, Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command chief, said a shift in the “allocation of resources and forces to address external security threats” should be expected.

“It’s a normal tweaking of strategy, normal tweaking of the course of action that you will take considering the situation on the ground,” he said following his statement that the government has been shifting its focus to external defense from internal security.

Philippine congressmen recently decided to realign the confidential funds of civilian agencies to agencies that are involved in the protection of the WPS. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza