The National Security Council (NSC) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) have asserted the country’s sovereignty in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Western Philippine Sea (WPS) with the recent conduct of awareness of the maritime domain in these groups of islands.
The mission and sovereignty activities were led by National Security Advisor Clarita Carlos and PCG officials, including the Coast Guard’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Human Resource Management, Capt. Jay Tarriela, Coast Guard Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Capt. Nelson Timbang and Commander John Esplana.
PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said that from the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Carlos boarded the PCG’s Cessna Caravan plane for the island of Pag-asa, the seat of the government of the municipality of Kalayaan.
On the way to the island, the Coast Guard Air Force (CGAF) conducted a maritime domain reconnaissance flight in nearby waters off Lawak, Patag, Likas and Parola islands.
The KIG and the WPS are challenged by China with its aggressive territorial expansion claims.
Balilo said that during the mission, the Commander of the Palawan Coast Guard, Commodore Rommel Supangan, showed Carlos the navigational buoys that were installed by the PCG in the KIG.
The buoys served as sovereign markers for the country while providing maritime security by guiding ships transiting these waters.
Supangan showed Carlos the PCG station established in Kalayaan and told him that they now operate several command observation posts which have expanded the PCG’s maritime domain awareness efforts and ensured the strategic deployment of Coast Guard vessels. In the region.
In Kalayaan, Carlos visited the municipality’s multi-purpose hall and met the families of the island who received gift packages from visitors.
The Safety Adviser spearheaded the launch of the PCG project in Kalayaan, the aim of which was to increase the literacy of children on the island of Pag-asa and to raise environmental awareness in the coastal community by educating children about the protection of the marine environment.
The project also aimed to provide parents with livelihood training opportunities and strengthen the participation of fishermen in maintaining marine environmental protection, maritime safety and maritime search and rescue.
Balilo said Carlos inspected PCG facilities in Kalayaan, including its Weapons, Communications, Electronics and Information Systems (CGWCEIS) facilities.
She also visited the naval base and the laboratory of the University of the Philippines Institute of Marine Science (UPMSI) on the island.