(STL.News) The Philippine government has reportedly backed down on a plan to deploy fishermen as militia forces in disputed parts of the South China Sea citing concerns about the potential for conflict with China. In a briefing on November 5, President Rodrigo Duterte’s National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said that the plan designed to beef up its defenses after years of Chinese intimidation in disputed areas, had not been finalized due to worries that the action could be misconstrued.
Last month, Philippine defense officials said they were considering recruiting fishermen into seaborne militia units similar to those used by Beijing to assert its claims over the resource-rich seaway. The plans prompted one prominent Filipino observer to predict a gray zone’ arms race in Southeast Asia. On October 12, Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo told a senate finance committee hearing about the navy’s plans to assemble maritime CAFGUs or Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units, in order to protect the nation’s interests in adjacent waters including within its 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
YouTube video provided courtesy of Armed BN – 10,066 views – Nov 8, 2020
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