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Western Command Bolsters Security at Malampaya Gas Platform

PALAWAN — The Western Command (Wescom) is set to enhance security measures at the Malampaya natural gas platform, crucial to the Philippines' energy supply, to safeguard against potential threats. Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, commander of Wescom, announced in a press briefing on Saturday the plan to increase security protocols and conduct specialized training for the facility's security personnel in collaboration with the military.

According to Philippines News Agency, the move to bolster security at the Malampaya platform, often referred to as the "energy crown jewel," is critical to ensuring the nation's energy security. "In our pursuit of heightened security and preparedness, Wescom remains steadfast in its important role of safeguarding the energy infrastructure crucial for our nation's sustenance," he stated. Carlos revealed plans for a joint exercise between platform security teams and Wescom troops, named the Gas Oil Platform Takedown and Recovery Training (GOPLAT), scheduled for the second quarter of the year, to enhance preparedness for future security challenges.

The Malampaya gas platform, located approximately 80 kilometers off the northwest coast of the Palawan mainland, is instrumental in producing about 20 percent of the Philippines' daily electricity requirements. The Wescom commander emphasized the platform's critical importance and outlined Wescom's role through the Joint Task Force Malampaya in ensuring secure and uninterrupted operations in collaboration with the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project's security and production personnel.

Furthermore, the completion of the third iteration of maritime cooperative activities between Philippine and United States allied forces in the West Philippine Sea was also highlighted. The exercises, according to Carlos, proceeded without incident in contested waters, reinforcing the commitment of both nations to regional security and stability. "These cooperative ventures serve not just as training for our forces at sea but as a clear signal of our shared resolve to maintain regional peace and security," Carlos added.

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, during a visit to Palawan earlier in the week, underscored the significance of continued maritime cooperative activities and joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea. She emphasized the importance of collaboration, not only bilaterally but also multilaterally, with other nations interested in partnering with the Philippines to ensure regional peace and security.