FSI CIRSS researchers Mr. Louie Dane C. Merced, Ms. Jemimah Joanne C. Villaruel, and Ms. Karla Mae G. Pabeliña with Dr. Chris Rahman (second from left) of Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong

Three research specialists from the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) participated in the Maritime and Strategic Studies Period (MSSP), a course organized by the Philippine Navy (PN) in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy under the Australian Defence Cooperation Program, held at the Brigade Training Center, Naval Station Jose Francisco, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, on 25 May-5 June 2015.

Now on its fourth year, the MSSP is an annual two-week training program that enhances the capability and understanding of Philippine Navy personnel and other civilian government officials of various aspects of maritime security.

Among the subjects that had been taken up during the course were the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the situation in the South China Sea, threats to the marine environment, piracy and armed robbery, fisheries enforcement, and proliferation of illicit materials.

The main speakers for this year were Prof. Stuart Kaye and Dr. Chris Rahman of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong. Capt. Michael McArthur, Director of Sea Power Centre of the RAN, presented Australia’s maritime doctrine and defense policy, while Lt. Cdr. Christopher Salimbangon of the PN-Office of the Naval Strategic Studies, focused on the Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy (AADS).

Professor Jay Batongbacal of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea (IMLOS), University of the Philippines, also gave a lecture on the Philippine perspective on the South China Sea, while Cdr. Jonathan V. Zata PN explained the work of the National Coast Watch System (NCWS).

Prof. Jay Batongbacal explains the different possible scenarios regarding the arbitration case filed by the Philippine government.
Ms. Jemimah Joanne C. Villaruel (rightmost) receives a certificate from Capt. Ernesto O. Baldovino PN and Col. Bruce Murray, AM, Defense Attaché, Australian Embassy Manila.
The course was attended by officials and personnel from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Marines, Philippine Coast Guard, and FSI.