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Measurable security progress for 2024

In the security realm, the year 2023 brought in a new wave of issues and risks for the Philippines, disrupting its existing geopolitical landscape.

In response to this phenomenon, new plans and strategies that aim to achieve a peaceful and stable region and country are being generated. In the long run, measurable progress must result from these initiatives. 

In maritime security, the issues in the West Philippine Sea continue to be a top concern.

As of October 2023, 54 diplomatic protests have been filed against the illegal actions of foreign vessels within the country’s maritime territory. This includes the increase in the number of foreign ships swarming in the area, averaging 400 daily.

In addition, serious challenges include the pointing of military-grade lasers, the water cannon incidents, and the destruction of coral reefs. Even more alarming is the collision incident between Chinese and Filipino vessels. 

The Philippines has shown determination to address these challenges by adopting a transparency strategy in the West Philippine Sea. It aims to inform the general public and the international community of the issues in the area by choosing to raise public awareness of any developments in the area.

Amidst new aggressive tactics, the Philippines knows how to harness its existing tools. The release of regular and timely statements and reports released by the Philippine officials contributes to garnering national and global support for its legal and recognized claim in the West Philippine Sea. It also fuels the condemnation against any aggressive and coercive actions by foreign entities within the country’s territory. 

While statements of support for the Philippines have poured in since 2016, a maritime cooperative activity was finally exercised by Australia and the United States, on separate occasions, in the area. In 2023, states are finally walking the talk. The conduct of such activities intensifies the Philippines’ ties with like-minded states, and the commitment to a rules-based international order. 

These developments were reflected in the last defense roundtable discussion hosted by the Stratbase ADR Institute on November 28. The sessions are in