The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it needs at least 20 offshore patrol vessels to maintain monitoring presence in the West Philippine Sea and other territorial waters of the country.

 PCG spokesperson for West Philippine Sea Affairs Commodore Jay Tarriela said adding more offshore patrol vessels is a “priority” for them.

“The Philippine Coast Guard is actually proposing at least more than 20 offshore patrol vessels,” he said in an interview with ANC.

“We believe that those offshore patrol vessels will not just sustain our presence in the West Philippine Sea but it can also intensify our presence up north, for example in Bashi Channel and other eastern seaboard and also the Celebes Sea, Sibutu passage — all parts of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under our responsibility,” he continued.

Tarriela added that PCG currently owns three offshore patrol vessels. One of them was purchased from France and two from Japan. He explained that these vessels aren’t enough to protect Pinoy fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Ronald Espartinez