Philippines boosts maritime security amid China tensions

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has told his government to strengthen maritime security. His instruction comes as a territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing escalates in the South China Sea.

Under the executive order Marcos signed on March 25 and that was announced Sunday by the presidential office, a coast watch body has been reorganized into a newly fledged National Maritime Council.

Its membership has been expanded, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is among 13 support agencies.

The order says the council will be the central body for ensuring maritime security.

Tensions between the Philippines and China have been growing recently.

Twice last month, Manila said Chinese coast guard ships fired water cannon at Philippine resupply vessels, injuring its sailors.

The incidents happened near Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The Philippines has a military outpost there and says the area is within its exclusive economic zone.

China also claims the area and has demanded that the Philippines stop violating its sovereignty.