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Philippines’ New Executive Order Facilitates Foreign Aid for Maritime Defense

QUEZON CITY – Presidential Assistant for Maritime Concerns Gen. Andres Centino has articulated his support for a clause in Executive Order No. 57 that permits the Philippines to receive foreign aid for enhancing its maritime defense capabilities. This statement was made amid discussions on the country's maritime security and strategic partnerships.

According to Philippines News Agency, the acceptance of foreign assistance as stipulated under the newly enacted Executive Order No. 57 is a strategic measure aimed at bolstering the Philippines' maritime infrastructure and defense mechanisms. The provision in question does not signify foreign interference but rather an acknowledgment of the support extended by international allies and partners committed to aiding the Philippines in securing its maritime domains.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. sanctioned Executive Order No. 57 on March 25, transforming the National Coast Watch Council (NCWC) into the National Maritime Council (NMC). This reorganization designates the NMC as the apex entity for devising policies and strategies that consolidate efforts towards robust maritime security and domain awareness.

Section 7 of the order distinctly authorizes the NMC to receive donations and grants from both domestic and international benefactors, aligning with its objectives and operational needs. The council, under the leadership of Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, aims to foster a cohesive governance framework in the maritime sector.

Additionally, the restructuring under EO No. 57 includes the transformation of the NCWC Secretariat into the Presidential Office for Maritime Concerns (POMC), with Gen. Centino at its helm. His role also extends to representing the NMC within the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), thereby ensuring coordinated efforts in safeguarding the country's maritime interests under the council's guidance and policy direction from the President.