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Philippines Promises More Sea Patrols with Newly Acquired US Warship

Philippine President Benigno Aquino promised enhanced maritime patrols as he welcomed the arrival of a second decommissioned warship from the United States.

President Aquino made his comments Tuesday at a ceremony that saw the 3,250-ton cutter, renamed the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, officially dock at a former U.S. naval base, Subic Bay.



"With the arrival of the BRP Alcaraz, we can strengthen our patrols in our Philippine exclusive economic zone, combat any bad elements, provide support in search and rescue operations and protect our marine resources."



Mr. Aquino's speech did not mention China, which is involved in a bitter territorial dispute with the Philippines over a resource-rich area in the South China Sea.

It is the second warship recently donated by the U.S. to Manila, which does not have a strong navy compared to many of its neighbors.

The first ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was involved last year in a standoff with Chinese vessels mostly over the uninhabited islets known as the Scarborough Shoal. The Philippines eventually backed down, leaving China in control of the area.

China claims nearly the entire 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea and its island groupings. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the sea. They often accuse Beijing of increasing aggressiveness in defending its claims.

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