The Philippine Navy said this week that it is creating its own maritime militia force, including armed fishermen, to protect the nation’s territorial waters in the South China Sea from Chinese incursions.
Speaking at a Senate budget hearing on October 12, Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said that the maritime militia “would patrol areas in the West Philippine Sea and Bajo de Masinloc [Scarborough Shoal],” according to the Inquirer, a Philippine newspaper.
The West Philippine Sea is the Philippines’ name for eastern parts of the South China Sea included in the nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a maritime area over which sovereign states maintain special rights to explore for natural resources. The concept of an EEZ was established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“Aside from data gathering, they will also be protecting our fishermen as they go fishing in our exclusive economic