Philippine Military Installs New Radios in Northern Islands


On April 23rd, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced the installation of Harris radios on three islands located in northern Luzon’s Batanes and Cagayan provinces. The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) released a statement confirming the installation of the radios at the naval detachments located in Calayan, Fuga, and Mavulis Islands.

Radio Installation

The statement said that the communication equipment was installed during command inspections of the sites from April 21st to 23rd. The NOLCOM Commanding General (CG), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Lt. General Ferynl G. Buca, led the site survey inspection on Mavulis Island. Senior PAF generals also accompanied Buca on his visit to the island, and they also assessed and inspected the island’s facilities, including the site’s helipad, to verify their operational efficacy. Buca said that the visit to the island was to “assess and ensure the operational readiness of the strategic military installations within the Batanes province.”

Location of islands the AFP installed radios (Photo: ScribbleMaps, Northern Luzon Command)

Personnel from the AFP’s 2nd Communications, Electronics, and Information Systems Group (2CEISG) and the Communications, Electronics, and Information Systems Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CEISSAFP) installed the radios at Calayan and Fuga Islands. Buca said that the radios show the AFP’s “proactive approach” to strengthening the communication infrastructure and ensuring the readiness of its strategic outposts. Furthermore, he said the radios are “crucial to safeguarding our [the Philippines] national interests and promoting regional stability, particularly in maritime security and external defense.”

Buca also said that the communication equipment will “provide reliable and secure voice and data communication capabilities, even in challenging environments.” Furthermore, the radios will increase communication capabilities throughout Batanes province and, by extension, enhance maritime security and external defense efforts in the region. The statement said that NOLCOM will continue its efforts to increase its ability to fulfill its mission of upholding peace, security, and Philippine sovereignty in the region.

Analysis

The installation of the radios will significantly increase the Philippine military’s communication and monitoring capabilities in the Luzon Strait. For example, the Harris radios would allow Mavulis Island’s naval detachment to both send and receive information easier and faster than previously. An increase in communication speed would be vital since Mavulis is located in the center of the Luzon Strait. Mavulis’s location would allow the Philippine military to provide crucial information regarding Chinese naval movements in the strait in both peacetime and during a potential conflict. The communications equipment would increase the naval detachment’s ability to communicate with each other and with the mainland based NOLCOM.

This aspect is especially crucial since the Calayan and Fuga Islands are located approximately 51 miles (83 km) north of the island of Luzon. Both islands would be used as a waypoint for communication between the mainland and Mavulis and as sites to monitor for any Chinese activities in the Babuyan Islands. The islands would also offer a degree of redundancy for the AFP to maintain communications with Mavulis since both Calayan and Fuga Islands are located relatively close to each other. The redundancy would allow the AFP to have communication with the island if the radio on either island is down for maintenance or repair.

Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin the panda began Sino Talk in 2022 primarily to give an objective, unbiased view on China related topics as well as other issues related to the Indo-Pacific region. He spent several years studying and traveling throughout China and many countries in the Indo-Pacific region. In another life, the panda was also a U.S. Marine intelligence analyst who enjoyed bamboo MREs and drinking bourbon and soju. Indo-Pacific Division Desk Chief for Atlas News.

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