Coast Guard adds buoys in five ‘critical areas’ in WPS

Coast Guard adds buoys in five �critical areas� in WPS
Philippine Coast Guard installs an East Cardinal Mark Buoy in waters off Julian Felipe Reef on May 12, 2023.
Twitter / PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard last week installed five navigational buoys “on critical areas” in the West Philippine Sea to emphasize that the area is within Philippine territory. 

In a Twitter post on Sunday, PCG adviser for maritime security Commodore Jay Tarriela said the Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan (Task Force for Maritime Safety) placed buoys in waters off Patag Island, Balagtas Reef, Kota Island, Panata Island and Julian Felipe Reef. 

Tarriela said the buoys “[signify] the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction.”

“This move highlights the Philippines' unwavering resolve to protect its maritime borders and resources and contribute to the safety of maritime trade,” Tarriela added.

Bloomberg reported in December last year that Julian Felipe Reef and Panata Island were among the areas where China started construction activities. 

RELATED: Philippines ‘concerned’ over report on China’s construction activities in Spratlys

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In an interview with DzBB Super Radyo on Sunday, PCG Vice Admiral Joseph Coyme said they are planning to install more buoys in areas with critical resources to the country. 

The PCG also installed five 30-feet long buoys in Lawak Island, Likas, Island, Parola Island and Pag-asa Island in May last year. The buoys were procured from Spain, which has modern marine aids to navigation lanterns and specialized mooring systems. 

Despite a 2016 Hague tribunal ruling that invalidates Beijing’s sweeping “nine-dash” claims in the waters, China continuously issues verbal challenges and would sometimes go in close proximity to Philippine vessels and fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

RELATED: PCG: Over 100 Chinese vessels spotted in West Philippine Sea

Lawmakers have filed bills both in the House of Representatives and the Senate to back the modernization of the PCG to help improve its capabilities in maritime law enforcement and to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.  – Kaycee Valmonte with a report from Franco Luna

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