Installation of buoys in WPS meant to uphold PH’s sovereignty, provide navigational safety – Año

The act of placing navigational buoys in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) was meant to uphold the Philippines’ sovereignty over the tension-filled waters and ensure the safety of navigators.

PCG marks territory in WPS with PH flag-laden buoys

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

This was stressed by National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año on Thursday, May 25, after China installed their own floating markers in several areas located in the contested waters.

“As a maritime nation, it is imperative that the Philippines prioritizes the maintenance of navigational safety to ensure the protection of our waters and the people who rely on them,” Año said.

The NSA underscored that the country was not competing with other nations when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) installed floating markers in the WPS two weeks ago.

“These cardinal buoys will indicate the direction of safe waters to prevent passing ships from running aground in these shallow areas,” the NSA said.

“Moreover, the installation of buoys with the Philippine flag further signifies the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over our EEZ [exclusive economic zone],” he added.

It can be recalled that the PCG installed five navigational buoys in Patag (Flat) Island, Balagtas (Irving) Reef, Kota (Loaita) Island, Panata Island (Lankiam Cay), and Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef from May 10 to 12.

These areas are located in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), WPS.

However, China responded by reportedly deploying their own buoys in Balagtas Reef, Julian Felipe Reef, and Burgos (Gaven) Reef.

Manila and Beijing have overlapping territorial claims in the WPS although the two nations are working to settle their disputes by finalizing a code of conduct in the South China Sea.