The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Within the next two years, the Philippine Coast Guard will be the subject of a P1.5-billion modernization program that, admits DOTC chief Manuel Roxas II, is partly driven by recent "tensions with China."
He indicated that the “tensions,” apparently referring to the continuing word war between Manila and Beijing over the Spratlys island chain and the nearly two-month-old standoff at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off western Luzon, prompted the government to give more focus to the Coast Guard.
"There is greater urgency... because of the tensions with China," Roxas said on Thursday.
The modernization program, to be implemented over the next two years, will be funded from the government share in the Malampaya gas field in Palawan, where a foreign-led consortium operates.
Roxas said the Coast Guard will repair two 56-meter boats and one 35-meter vessel which are currently stationed at the dry dock.
"Our 56-meter boats are our largest boats. Because we do not have enough of these boats, we cannot replenish and re-supply," he added.
Roxas said one of only two helicopters of the Coast Guard, which broke down in 2006, will also finally be repaired.