Nolcom awaits orders on ‘restriction’ of foreign vessels in PH Rise


MANILA — While it has yet to receive orders regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to drive away any foreign vessels or ships conducting research or any other activities in the Philippine Rise (formerly known as Benham Rise), the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) is more than ready to perform its mandate especially in terms of maritime security.

“(In regards) to maritime security ay amin namang ginagawa dahil ito ang ating mandato at aantayin lamang namin ang utos sa taas para gawin para maisagawa ang aming mandato. We will still continue ‘yung mandate na ito, to monitor our fellow Filipinos na nangigisda sa karagatan natin ganun din yung mga pagmo-monitor ng fishing vessels and Chinese vessels within our territory,” Nolcom spokesperson Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said Wednesday.

He added that they were still conducting maritime and air patrols in waters under the operational jurisdiction of Nolcom along with the Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Philippine National Police-Maritime Group.

Nato said Nolcom was using the Air Force’s Tactical Operation Group 2 and 3 and aircraft from the Navy to patrol its maritime areas.

“Sabi ko nga itong patrol na ginagawa natin ay regular. It is a mandate ng Nolcom forces so patuloy yun kahit meron o walang kautusan sa taas patuloy,” he added.

And as of now, they are still to receive reports on the presence of foreign ships transiting along Philippine Rise.

Nolcom undertakes three to four patrol missions in maritime areas under its control, Nato added.