US Ambassador Helps Open National Coast Watch Center to Enhance Philippine Maritime Domain Awareness

Manila, April 30, 2015 — Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg, cut the ribbon inaugurating the National Coast Watch Center in an action that underscores the U.S. commitment to helping the Philippines manage and secure its maritime domain.

  The U.S. has provided $20 million (880 million Philippine Pesos) to date for the center that provides critical information fusion and 24 hour operations to support enhanced awareness of the Philippines’ maritime domain.  Future incremental improvements are planned to fully realize the potential of the center.

  The Ambassador was joined by Deputy Secretary of Defense for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Jay Finch, and Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Kenneth Myers joined Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., DOTC Secretary Abaya and AFP Chief of Staff Catapang, Admiral Jose Luis Alano, Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Rudolfo Isorena and other Philippines Coast Guard, defense and security officials at Coast Guard headquarters.

  The National Coast Watch Center is a multi-year partnership funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency as part of the WMD Proliferation Prevention Program’s Maritime Security project. The project, when complete, will tie together more than a dozen stations and sensors, as well as ships of the Coast Guard, to provide a more comprehensive picture of ships and vessels operating in or near Philippine waters.

  Maritime domain awareness is crucial for the Philippines as it increases its abilities to thwart smuggling, illegal fishing, other criminal activities as well as improving defense capacity.