Philippines tests first missile system

MANILA: The Philippine navy on Thursday successfully tested its first ever missile system. The Spike Extended Range missile system, fitted on a multipurpose attack craft, accurately hit a metal plate target 6 kilometres away, navy spokesman Commander Jonathan Zata said.
“The target was hit dead centre even if the sea state condition was moderately rough with waves of at least 1 metre high, but within the normal firing conditions of the missile,” he said in a statement.
The test was conducted off the port of Lamao in Bataan province, 43 kilometres west of Manila.
The missile system was delivered to the Philippines in April by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
It has a range of 8 kilometres and has been installed in three Philippine navy attack ships.
Zata said a second test would be conducted to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to witness the demonstration.
Defence department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the missile system would “greatly enhance the navy’s capability to secure (the country’s) littoral areas against terrorism and in support of maritime law enforcement operations.”
The Philippines has been building up its defence capabilities amid a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.
Aside from the Philippines and China, parts of the sea — which is a key shipping lane believed to be rich in mineral and marine resources — are also claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
The Philippines has denied entry to an elderly Australian activist for being a “threat to public order” and would deport him, officials said on Thursday, the latest action against foreigners accused of protesting against the government.
Gill Boehringer, 84, a former law professor at Sydney’s Macquarie University, was refused entry at Manila’s airport late on Wednesday because he was on a blacklist for joining a demonstration in 2015.
He said that was “absolute nonsense”.
A human rights group said his planned deportation was a sign of “paranoia” of President Rodrigo Duterte and his government.
Duterte has been condemned widely for alleged human rights abuses, mostly over a war on drugs that has killed thousands of people. Duterte denies any wrongdoing.
Another elderly Australian, Patricia Fox, a nun, was last month declared an “undesirable alien” and ordered deported.
She was accused of political activism in joining rallies on Duterte’s home island of Mindanao against martial law and in support of indigenous people. Duterte has said he ordered her expulsion. — dpa/Reuters