Philippines Revamps Maritime Security Offices Amid China Spat

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(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reorganized the responsibilities of the central agency for maritime security policies as South China Sea tensions with Beijing escalate.

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Marcos directed the National Maritime Council to formulate policies and coordinate with government agencies on all issues affecting sea security and domain awareness, according to an order dated March 25 and released Sunday.

The council will be led by Marcos’ Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, with defense, energy and foreign affairs ministers as members. Others include the country’s national security adviser and solicitor general. The council is now mandated to meet quarterly from twice a year.

Marcos also formed a presidential office for maritime concerns.

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The Philippines has been asserting its South China Sea rights, heightening a spat with China which claims almost the entire waterway despite a 2016 ruling favoring Manila. Marcos also recently vowed “deliberate” countermeasures against “dangerous attacks” by Chinese ships on Philippine vessels.

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