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Expert calls for regular joint patrols in WPS

INTERNATIONAL think tank Stratbase ADR on Monday called for immediate, regular joint patrols among allied countries in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) after a collision incident precipitated by a Chinese ship's reckless maneuvers to block Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

«In the face of these growing challenges on the ground, the Institute fully recommends the immediate conduct of regular joint patrols with like-minded states such as the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and the European Union in the West Philippine Sea,» Stratbase ADR Institute President Dindo Manhit said.

Manhit urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take the lead and prioritize joint patrols based on the Philippine arbitral victory in asserting the country's rights in the WPS.

China's reckless maneuvers against Philippine vessels on a resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal resulted in two collisions — a civilian boat Unaiza May 2 and the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Cobra.

Despite China's dangerous naval actions aimed at blocking provisions intended for soldiers on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, the resupply mission was successful.

In a statement issued on Monday, Manhit said that the safety and well-being of all parties involved in the sea incident, particularly the crew of the Philippine supply boat and the patrol vessels, are of utmost and immediate concern.

«The dangerous actions taken by the [China] Coast Guard and the Chinese militia vessel are regarded as provocative, irresponsible, and in violation of international law,» Manhit said.

He insisted that the Philippine vessels, which were headed to the BRP Sierra Madre for a regular rotation and resupply mission, were merely exercising the country's legal right to sail in its waters.

Several countries have condemned China's dangerous blocking maneuvers that led to the collision in the West Philippine Sea over the weekend.

«The recent incident involving the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea also has significant implications in the realm of regional stability and global commerce. The recent events underscore the need for continued efforts to maintain stability and