• A Marine Battalion was deployed in Cagayan Valley to secure the Philippine Rise
• The deployment came after President Duterte’s order to chase away foreign vessels from the underwater plateau
• A Chinese official said the Benham Rise is open to all
A large contingent of Marines has been deployed to guard the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, against intrusion of foreign vessels.
According to ABS-CBN, a battalion of Marines arrived at Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan a week after President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly ordered the Philippine Navy to chase away any vessel, whether fishing or doing research, from the Philippine Rise following a remark by a Chinese official that the underwater plateau is open for all.
The Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT 8) is the largest deployment of Marines in the region, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ North Luzon Command (NolCom) Commanding General Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat.
The MBLT8, members of which came from Jolo, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, would augment the forces of Joint Task Force Tala under the 5th Infantry Division for Internal Security Operations, territorial defense and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, according Lt. Col. Isagani G. Nato, chief of the NoLCom’s Public Information Office.
“The MBLT 8 will subsequently be integrated to the Joint Task Force “Tala” for the conduct of intensified Internal Security Operations (ISO). It will be given missions that are based on its capabilities and doctrine to accomplish NoLCom target goals pertaining to all mission areas,” Nato said.