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Image: Lockheed P-3C Orion/SGT. GARY COPPAGE

The Philippine government has confirmed that US spy planes may be tapped to conduct maritime surveillance operations in all its territories, including the disputed Kalayaan (Spratly) Group of Islands and the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

But Strategic Communications Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang quickly clarified that the surveillance aircrafts identified as the US Navy’s P3C Orion planes will only “take pictures” and that such activities should not be seen as “provocative.”

Carandang stressed that there is no need for a new agreement to be forged to authorize such “flyovers” since the United States and the Philippines have long committed to enhance their defense capabilities.

“I don’t think you need a treaty or an agreement. We have commitments from the United States to help us enhance our defense and monitoring capabilities. But it’s just like we would have similar agreements with other friendly countries. So I don’t think simple flyovers, if they happen, would necessarily require any sort of special arrangement,” he pointed out.

Read the rest of Jaime R. Pilapil’s article in the The Manila Times via Stars and Stripes.

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Image: Lockheed P-3C Orion/SGT. GARY COPPAGE The Philippine government has confirmed that US spy planes…