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PCG commended for ‘assertive’ move in SCS

May 15, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 230 views

A House leader has commended the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for placing five navigational buoys to assert the country’s sovereignty over disputed islets, reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the Coast Guard should install more buoys in the entire breadth of the WPS, from the northern part of the country in the Ilocos region to the south in the Palawan area, because that is the extent of Philippine territorial waters China is claiming,.

The chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments said the markers “should serve as a warning to the Chinese and other foreign powers that those are a demarcation of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under international law.”

“China should leave that area. They have no business occupying certain islets and sea features there,” he said.

The Mindanao lawmaker urged the PCG to procure more buoys and to include funding for those markers in its budget proposal to the Department of Budget and Management and Congress.

He said the Coast Guard could also seek the help of the Philippine Navy in placing the buoys.

According to reports, the PCG installed markers carrying the national flag in five areas near the Spratly Islands group off Palawan, including Juan Felipe Reef, also known as Whitsun Reef, last month.

In March 2001, the government protested the presence of more than 200 Chinese vessels around Juan Felipe Reef, which is about 175 miles from the Palawan town of Bataraza, well within the country’s 200-mile EEZ.

About half of the ships left in the aftermath of the protest. A year later, the Department of Foreign Affairs again sent Beijing a diplomatic note complaining about the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the vicinity of Juan Felipe Reef.