MANILA – The United States will allot USD7.5 million in additional assistance to help the Philippines combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), the US Office of the Vice President said Tuesday.
The announcement will be made during the historic trip of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Puerto Princesa in Palawan on Nov. 22, where she would also "recommit" to the US' alliance with the Philippines.
In a backgrounder sent by the US Office of the Vice President, a US official on condition of anonymity said Harris' trip demonstrates Washington D.C.'s solidarity with the Philippines in "upholding the international rules-based order" in the South China Sea.
"(VP Harris is going to Palawan to demonstrate) that we stand with the people of Palawan – and the Philippine people – whose lives and livelihoods are affected when the international rules and norms are violated, and our commitment to address the climate crisis and support coastal communities adapt," the official said.
Palawan is the closest province to the South China Sea, a resource-rich sea lane contested by several nations and a hotspot for IUU fishing.
Aside from strengthening capacity and capabilities against IUU, the fresh funding would also help maritime law enforcement agencies improve maritime domain awareness and provide search and rescue support.
"Her message is essentially that: to protect lives and livelihoods, we must protect international rules and norms," the US official said. "[S]he’ll make the case that we’ll continue to rally the world against unlawful and irresponsible behavior. And in doing so, we’re committing to protect the economic vitality of communities in the Philippines and the ecosystems they rely on," the official added.
Harris will also visit the fishing village of Tagburos, where about half of the fish supply of Puerto Princesa comes from. (PNA)