MANILA – National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año said the country’s decision to place navigational buoys in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is an act asserting its sovereignty and part of its international obligation to ensure safe navigation.
“The act of placing navigational buoys in the WPS is an act of a sovereign nation and is pursuant to the country’s obligations under international law. As a maritime nation, it is imperative that the Philippines prioritize the maintenance of navigational safety to ensure the protection of our waters and the people who rely on them,” Año said in a statement forwarded to reporters late Thursday.
Año, who is also the National Security Council director general, said neglecting to provide navigational safety aids could result in maritime accidents, loss of life and damage to the environment.
“We wish to stress that safe and efficient navigation is critical to international trade and commerce, and any disruption to this can have far-reaching consequences. Besides, our maritime borders are vulnerable to threats such as piracy, smuggling, and terrorism. Thus, maintaining navigational safety is critical to safeguarding the nation against these threats,” he said.
Año also noted that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has been installing navigational buoys in the WPS since last year.
And as a responsible coastal state, he said the Philippines is just fulfilling its commitment under international law to install and maintain these aids to navigation that assist vessels in safe passage in the country’s waters.
Año added that five buoys have been floating in the vicinity waters of Lawak, Likas, Parola and Pag-asa for over a year now.
“Last week, four PCG ships and one Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel installed five cardinal mark buoys in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). These cardinal buoys will indicate the direction of safe waters to prevent passing ships from running aground in these shallow areas,” he said.
Año stressed that installation of buoys with the Philippine flag further signifies the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its EEZ. He added that marking the boundaries with the Philippine national flag signals the country’s unwavering resolve to safeguard its maritime entitlements and resources.
“Furthermore, it underscores our adherence to international statutes, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which acknowledges coastal states’ entitlement to manage their EEZs,” Año pointed out.
He also stressed that the installation of the buoys reinforces the Philippines’ commitment to promoting peace, stability, cooperation and the rule of law in the region.
“It is not done with brute force but with deliberative action buttressed by international and domestic laws. After all, installing and maintaining navigational aids benefits not only our vessels, but also those of neighboring countries — promoting safe and efficient maritime trade and commerce for the benefit of all,” he said. (PNA)