'Let's Challenge Them': Philippines Installs High-Tech Markers in the West Philippine Sea
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has installed five 30-foot navigational buoys bearing the Philippine flag in the West Philippine Sea. They were strategically placed around four critically strategic islands owned by the Philippines: Lawak Island, Likas Island, Parola Island, and Pag-Asa Island.
High-Tech Ocean Markers
The five newly-installed buoys were part of the 10 floating markers procured in Spain. These buoys, which arrived in Cebu from Valencia, Spain, on 07 May 2022, are equipped with modern marine aids to navigation lanterns and specialized mooring systems.
They also have a remote monitoring system that uses satellite technology to transmit data to the Coast Guard National Headquarters in Port Area, Manila.
Markers Warn Vessels About Protected Zones
The markers are “symbols of coastal state administration” and are meant to signal to foreign vessels that they are within the waters protected and controlled by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Five of the Coast Guard’s ships were deployed to install the markers. These were the BRP Corregidor, BRP Bojeador, BRP Suluan, BRP Capones, and Tug Boat Habagat.
According to Coast Guard Admiral Abu, the ocean markers also communicate that the said vicinity waters are considered special protected zones. Hence, mining and oil exploration are prohibited to preserve their rich natural resources.
‘Tayo ang mang-challenge sa kanila.’
Prior to the installation of the markers, Abu visited Pag-asa Island on May 14, 2022 to assess the buoy laying operations and check the morale of PCG personnel deployed on the island
"During my visit to Pag-asa Island, I saw five PCG ships anchored in the vicinity with several Filipino fishing bancas. 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," Abu said.
“Ang guidance ko sa kanila, tayo ang mang-challenge sa kanila,” Abu added.
Chinese and Vietnamese Ships Respected the Coast Guard Mission
According to the Coast Guard Fleet that installed the markers in the West Philippine Sea, the mission was largely peaceful. Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in the area respected the mission and did not cause trouble, according to Abu.
Benham Rise is the Next Target
Apart from installing markers and securing the vicinity around the four strategically critical islands in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard aims to place more markers in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It will also install makers in the resource-rich Benham Rise, which is part of the Philippines' extended continental shelf in the Philippine Sea.