Duterte and generals split on China rapprochement

Nikkei Asian Review – High stakes internal battle under way over direction of Philippine foreign policy.

South China Sea: Duterte orders Philippines military to occupy islands

CNN – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he has ordered military personnel to occupy all Philippines-claimed islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Wary of China, Duterte tells navy to build ‘structures’ east of Philippines

Reuters – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.

Philippines Tells US No Joint Patrols in South China Sea

ABC – The Philippine defense chief said Friday he told the U.S. military that plans for joint patrols and naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea have been put on hold, the first concrete break in defense cooperation after months of increasingly strident comments by the country’s new president.

Turbulence For the Philippines: Blimps Over the South China Sea

CIMSEC – During his recent visit to the Philippines, the United States Secretary of Defense promised delivery of a variety of sensors and communications equipment worth $42 million to the host nation. One of the critical sensors in this suite is an observation blimp that can peer across the South China Sea (SCS), providing maritime domain awareness to the Philippines.

The Philippines at Forefront of New Pentagon Maritime Security Initiative

USNI News – The Pentagon recently began funding maritime security projects with countries in the South China Sea aimed at giving them the capability to monitor activities in their territorial waters and air space amidst concerns of regional Chinese expansion.

US reveals rare joint navy patrols with Philippines

BBC – The United States Navy is conducting joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

New U.S.-Philippine Basing Deal Heavy on Air Power, Light on Naval Support

USNI News – Over the weekend, the United States and the Philippines concluded their Sixth Annual Bilateral Security Dialogue session in Washington, D.C. At that forum, one of the first fruits of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) came to bear: the announcement of five bases where the United States could rotate troops and pre-position facilities and materials in support of the U.S. Pacific Pivot.

If China’s Goliath Threatens Asia, Then Arm David

National Interest – There is a Goliath menacing the western Pacific. China’s construction of three huge artificial islands with obvious military capacity in the South China Sea has already destabilized the security equilibrium in the region. Given the rising tensions and outright challenges to the established international security order in the western Pacific, it is time for the United States to align its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program with its Pivot to Asia initiative, in order to strengthen the region’s Davids.

The Philippines Military Modernization Severely Snagged

USNI News – The Philippines’ armed services modernization program took a strange and alarming turn recently as President Benigno Aquino III’s final term comes to a close.

How the Philippines Plans to Revive a Former US Naval Base

The Diplomat – Amidst the tensions generated by China’s development of artificial islands in the South China Sea, Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin reiterated the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) plan to rehabilitate the air and naval facilities in Subic Bay Freeport in the central part of the mainland island of Luzon.

Growing The Philippines South China Sea Outpost

USNI News – The Philippines government has begun efforts to reinforce the tiny outpost of BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated World War II-era landing ship deliberately beached on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999.

China sending nuclear subs

Manila Times – Undersea patrols in West Philippine Sea may roll out by year end.

Japan, Philippines to Hold New South China Sea Naval Exercise

The Diplomat – Tokyo and Manila are preparing for yet another joint maritime drill.

The Philippines’ Naval Build Up

USNI News – Like many of its regional peers, the Philippines is in the midst of a defense buildup, motivated in no small part by China’s assertive moves in the western Philippine Sea and the resource-rich Spratly islands.

The Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam Race to South China Sea Defense Modernization

The Diplomat – Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all striving to bolster their maritime capabilities.

The Philippine Navy’s Submarine Quest

The Diplomat – How realistic are plans for the Philippines to acquire submarines?

The Philippine Navy Is Rusting Away

War is Boring – Manila has to make up for decades of neglect.

Philippine Navy – Philippines, U.S. begin military exercises near disputed seas

Reuters – Thousands of Philippine and American soldiers began annual war games on Monday near disputed waters in the South China Sea, testing the readiness of the two oldest security allies in the southeast Asian region to respond to any emergency.

Philippine Navy – Aboard the Philippine Navy’s Newest Old Frigate

Wall Street Journal – The Philippine Navy’s newest warship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, is more like a middle-aged transfer than a fresh recruit. But newness is relative for what was until very recently Southeast Asia’s most run-down fleet, a navy rendered defunct by years of neglect and underfunding.

Philippine Navy – Philippines, U.S. to hold naval drills near disputed shoal in S.China Sea

Reuters – Philippine and American troops are set to hold naval exercises this month near a disputed shoal, which will almost certainly anger China with tension already high in the South China Sea.

Phillipine Navy – China-Philippines navy spat captured on camera

BBC – Journalists on board a Philippine ship have witnessed Chinese coast guard vessels trying to block access to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.

Philippine Navy – For South China Sea claimants, a legal venue to battle China

Reuters – When Philippine President Benigno Aquino compared China to the Germany of 1938 and called for global support as his country battles Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, he put the focus on a case that Manila has filed in an international court. The Philippines has taken its dispute with China to arbitration under the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea and its lawyers say that the tribunal has discretionary powers to allow other states to join the action. China is refusing to participate and has already warned Vietnam against joining the case being heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, sources have said. Hanoi has so far kept its options open. Any final ruling by the court on the dispute, one of the most tense flashpoints in Asia, cannot be enforced but will carry considerable moral and political weight, analysts say.

Phillipine Navy – Philippines pushes back against China

Washington Post – China’s most daring adversary in Southeast Asia is, by many measurements, ill-suited for a fight. The Philippines has a military budget 1 / 40th the size of Beijing’s, and its navy cruises through contested waters with 1970s hand-me-downs from the South Vietnamese. From that shorthanded position, the Philippines has set off on a risky mission to do what no nation in the region has managed to do: thwart China in its drive to control the vast waters around it.

Philippine Navy – Philippines 'to take South China Sea row to court'

BBC – The Philippines says it will challenge Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea at a UN tribunal.