BRP Conrado Yap sent to secure southern Philippine waters
The Philippine Navy is deploying BRP Conrado Yap, a corvette capable of anti-submarine operations, to guard the southern maritime boundary of the Philippines.
The BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) in the Zamboanga City port on Monday as part of its "Show the Flag" mission around Philippine waters, said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commanding officer of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).
"This new naval capability of our Armed Forces has undoubtedly enhanced our security posture in the maritime domain of our archipelagic country," Sobejana said.
According to Naval Forces West, which holds similar missions, a "'Show the Flag' mission is a mobile Bayanihan activity of different local government agencies on board a Philippine Navy vessel that provide essential services in far-flung areas."
BRP Conrado Yap, commanded by Capt. Marco Buena, is an anti-submarine ship and the Philippine Navy's first modern corvette.
"They will be deployed here in the Sulu Sea to secure the maritime domain and where they are needed,” Sobejana said.
He said the ship can perform anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling, and anti-human trafficking missions and also deal with other security threats in the area.
Foreign warships in Philippine waters
Aside from watching for watching out for kidnapping and highjacking in waters along the boundary shared with Indonesia and Malaysia, the Yap may also have to deal with foreign warships passing through without coordinating with the Philippine government.
The Palace said in August that the president has required "all foreign vessels passing our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage."
The president's order came after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the government was filing another diplomatic protest over the repeated passage of Chinese warships through Philippine waters.
Sobejana said at the time that two Chinese warships were spotted in Sibutu Strait in July while three were monitored in August.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana noted the uptick in naval activity of Chinese warships in Philippine waters. He claimed Chinese warships had passed through Sibutu Strait several times. Sibutu is a deep channel separating Borneo and the Sulu archipelago.