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President Marcos signs order on maritime security

MANILA, Philippines — Citing “serious challenges” that threaten not only the country’s territorial integrity but also the “peaceful existence of Filipinos” in the West Philippine Sea, President Marcos has issued an order to strengthen the country’s maritime security and maritime domain awareness among Filipinos.

Executive Order (EO) 57, signed on March 25 by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, renamed and reorganized the National Coast Watch Council (NCWC) as the National Maritime Council (NMC).

The NMC, to be chaired by Bersamin, is tasked to formulate policies and strategies to ensure a unified, coordinated and effective governance framework for the country’s maritime security and domain awareness, among other powers and functions.

Marcos has ordered the NMC to formulate and issue guidelines for the effective implementation of EO 57.

“Despite efforts to promote stability and security in our maritime domain, the Philippines continues to confront a range of serious challenges that threaten not only the country’s territorial integrity, but also the peaceful existence of Filipinos, including their fundamental right to live in peace and freedom, free from fear of violence and threat,” Marcos said. 

“Strengthening the country’s maritime security and domain awareness is imperative to comprehensively tackle the crosscutting issues that impact the nation’s national security, sovereignty, sovereign rights, and maritime jurisdiction over its extensive maritime zones,” he added.

NMC members include the secretaries of National Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Interior and Transportation, as well as the National Security Adviser, the Solicitor General and the director general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

EO 57 also directed the following agencies to render full support and assistance to the council: Philippine Coast Guard, Armed Forces, Philippine National Police, DOJ-National Prosecution Service, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency,