– USNI News – The Philippine government is putting the brakes on its plan to end a critical aspect of its Mutual Defense Treaty with the U.S., but experts say it is too soon to tell whether this decision signals a warming relationship between the two allies.
– Naval News – The Philippine Navy’s first-ever guided-missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), set sails from the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in South Korea today, to join her homeland for the first time.
– Naval News – The Philippines Department of Transportation signed a procurement contract with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for two 94-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) for the Philippine Coast Guard.
– South China Morning Post – Beijing is stepping up its activities in the disputed South China Sea amid a swell of patriotic pride sparked by National Day celebrations, and it wants the world to see.
– USNI News – The Philippines have begun to push back against the strong and sustained presence of Beijing’s paramilitary ships in the South China Sea, calling the deployment of Chinese militia ships in huge numbers a threat.
– CIMSEC – Illicit maritime activities are at the root of Abu Sayyaf Group funding and operations, and ensuring the group’s defeat will require focused government efforts to improve maritime security in its area of operations.
– War on the Rocks – A storm is brewing in America’s oldest security alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the administration needs to act quickly to head it off.
– Nikkei Asian Review – High stakes internal battle under way over direction of Philippine foreign policy.
– CNN – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he has ordered military personnel to occupy all Philippines-claimed islands in the disputed South China Sea.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– BBC – The United States Navy is conducting joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– Manila Times – Undersea patrols in West Philippine Sea may roll out by year end.
– The Diplomat – Tokyo and Manila are preparing for yet another joint maritime drill.
– 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 Diplomat – Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all striving to bolster their maritime capabilities.
– The Diplomat – How realistic are plans for the Philippines to acquire submarines?
– War is Boring – Manila has to make up for decades of neglect.