Wed. Jun 23rd, 2021

MANILA – After Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin Jr. rejected the designation of coast guard attaché in Beijing, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said there are also pending requests to place attaché posts in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Sabay-sabay siya finile yung request, nauna lang siya ng konti pero wala pa rin naman resulta (The requests were filed simultaneously, there was one that was filed a bit earlier but there is still no result),” PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said in a phone interview.

Currently, he said the Philippines also has an existing maritime attaché posted in London and is currently exploring to designate another post in the United States.

In 2017, the Maritime Industry Authority established the maritime attaché post in London currently occupied by Sonia Maluluan since 2018.

Meanwhile, Balilo said the PCG respects Locsin’s claim that having a PCG attaché in Beijing would equate to Manila conceding its exclusive sovereignty over the Philippines’ coastal waters.

“Hindi ko alam kung bakit ganun, parang na-conclude ni Secretary [Locsin]. But we respect kung ano ang mga information niya (I don’t know why Secretary Locsin has that kind of conclusion. But we respect his information on this),” Balilo said.

In a statement, the PCG said a coast guard attaché with China would directly coordinate and facilitate “bilateral and multilateral” talks with China in relation to the establishment of the Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC), specifically in maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime security, maritime safety, and marine environmental protection.

“It was anchored on the memorandum of understanding between the PCG and the China Coast Guard (CCG) on the establishment of the [JCGC] to strengthen mutual trust, deepen confidence, intensify communication, and enhance friendly cooperation between two countries,” the PCG said.

It said the recommendation to establish coast guard attachés in Malaysia and Indonesia was also founded on the same goals. (PNA)

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