The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Saturday said the continued presence of foreign aircraft could be expected in future resupply missions in the West Philippine Sea.
“We can expect that because I think that is also important,” AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a television interview.
A foreign aircraft from an unknown country was spotted monitoring the Ayungin Shoal during the resupply mission of the military and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Wednesday last week.
“What they are providing us is a view from above so that, as I’ve said, we will know what is happening on the ground. That is very important in the formulation of strategies, campaigns, or operational plans that will be effective only in providing additional capability, which we don’t have yet,” Aguilar added.
He, however, did not give a definitive answer when asked if the Philippines requested the US for aircraft presence during resupply missions or whether the US decided on its own to send.
“We have a mutual defense treaty,” Aguilar said without elaborating.
The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea announced last week the country completed another resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal despite harassment from Chinese vessels.
During the Oct. 4 resupply and rotational mission, presidential special envoy to China and concurrent Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Teodoro Locsin Jr. joined the team that left for Ayungin Shoal.
Locsin was aboard the BRP Cabra, one of the escort vessels of two Philippine ships that brought fresh supplies to the troops stationed at BRP Sierra Madre.