PH, Australia expand maritime security engagement

MANILA – The Australian and Philippine governments are working on a new program that would strengthen Manila’s capabilities to protect its waters, Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven J. Robinson AO said. At a dinner he hosted in Makati City Wednesday, Robinson said the two governments are meeting on October 7 to move forward with the proposed Philippine Civil Maritime Security Program (PCMSP) with Australia.

“So we’ve been talking with a number of different bodies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Council. We’re keen to commence this as quickly as we can because we think there is significant utility in this for the Philippines particularly on the civil side,” he told reporters. Robinson previously visited Palawan where he met with the military’s Western Command and the Philippine Coast Guard and discussed first-hand the challenges they faced and how Australia could support them.

“One way is by expanding our engagement on maritime cooperation through a new Philippine Civil Maritime Security Program (PCMSP) which aims to support the Philippines to strengthen its civil maritime security,” he said. He said current discussions are centered on different areas, including the protection of coral and marine resources in the country’s waters and mapping out some of the areas of key importance to Manila in the West Philippine Sea. The envoy said Canberra and Manila’s civil maritime cooperation will primarily focus on the following:

– Maritime governance systems, processes, and interagency coordination.

– Marine natural resources management and environment protection.

– Technical assistance, research, and workshops. (PNA) 

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