MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) announced on Wednesday, May 18, that it has installed a new set of navigational buoys bearing the Philippine flag in the West Philippine Sea.
The PCG said in a press statement that they have installed five 30-foot navigational buoys bearing the Philippine flag in four important islands in the country’s waters – Lawak Island, Likas Island, Parola Island, and Pag-asa Island – from May 12 to 14.
PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said that during his visit to Pag-asa Island on May 14 “to assess the buoy laying operations and check the morale of PCG personnel deployed on the island,” he said five Coast Guard ships were anchored in the vicinity of several Philippine fishing boards.
“Several Vietnamese fishing boats, Chinese fishing vessels, and China Coast Guard vessels were not so far from their position, specifically at the vicinity waters off Subi Reef. Ang guidance ko sa kanila, tayo ang mang-challenge sa kanila. Pero ayon sa Coast Guard Fleet, mapayapa ang WPS at nagpakita ng respeto ang mga barko ng Vietnam at China sa isinagawa nating misyon,” he said.
(My guidance to them was let us be the ones to challenge them. But according to the Coast Guard fleet, the West Philippine Sea was peaceful and the vessels from Vietnam and China respected our mission.)
Most of the islands are located off Palawan, where Chinese ships have been spotted sailing over the years. Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea have continued despite the Philippines’ historic victory against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Abu said the buoys will serve as sovereign markers and will also as flash lights at night to guide Filipino sailors.
The newly installed buoys are part of the 10 markers procured by the PCG from Spain. The first set of markers were installed in May 2021.
The buoys are equipped with modern marine aids, including navigation lanterns. The markers also have specialized mooring systems.
According to the PCG, the buoys have a remote monitoring system that uses satellite technology to transmit data from the waters to the PCG National Headquarters in Manila. Aside from these technologies, the buoys will also signal that the areas, where they were installed, are considered special protected zones. where mining and oil exploration are prohibited.
Abu said more buoys will be installed in the West Philippine Sea and in Benham Rise. – Rappler.com