Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said Philippine air surveillance in the West Philippine (South China) Sea had a 30-percent increase in 2019.
In his speech during the virtual celebration of the Defense department’s 81st anniversary, Lorenzana attributed the increase to the military’s acquisition of new equipment.
Without going into details, he said the military’s air domain coverage increased from 27 percent to 57 percent.
“This was due to our air defense surveillance radars, surveillance aircraft and long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles,” Lorenzana said.
The surveillance intensified despite the softened stance towards the dispute and the continued presence of Chinese vessels in Philippine-owned territories in the Kalayaan Island Group.
He said the coronavirus pandemic had not stopped the military from fulfilling “strategic priorities,” that apparently includes the West Philippine Sea.
“[Our priorities fulfilled] include securing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state promoting internal stability attaining the highest standard capability and preparedness on disasters to sustaining operations in support to global peace and security and pursing good government,” he said.