The Philippine Navy (PN) said recently it is preparing to deploy military personnel on the retired gas platforms located northeast of Palawan, as part of a plan to develop the facility as littoral monitoring stations overlooking the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Navy Vice Admiral Carlo Bacordo, in a reported of the government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA), said they will soon deploy troops iun the two platforms not far off the West Philippine Sea (WPS), which will have the capability to also track the disputed Recto Bank, a gas and oil-rich area also being claimed by China.
Meanwhile, the Matinloc platform will oversee the Malampaya gas field, located 80km off the coast of the province.
“I would like to add also [that] we have inspected the Nido platform and also the Matinloc platforms in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and we are putting Navy personnel in that area and also the Area Command (is) putting their personnel there and initially, we (will) develop that into littoral monitoring station(s),” he said.
In late September, Bacordo visited and inspected the platforms to determine whether they were viable for conversion into military outposts.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the six-year-long moratorium on oil and gas explorations and drilling activities, allowing investors and consortiums to proceed with their planned activities. The moratorium was issued during the Aquino administration after Chinese boats were seen illegally patrolling the Recto Bank.
Other areas in the West Philippine Sea continue to be the subject of territorial disputes with China, which has greatly affected oil and gas exploration by both local and foreign investors.