The Philippine Coast Guard has installed five navigational buoys carrying the Philippine flag in four critical islands in the West Philippine Sea, namely Lawak Island, Likas Island, Parola Island, and Pag-asa Island.

According to the Coast Guard in a statement sent to media Wednesday, these ocean markers also communicate that the said vicinity waters are considered special protected zones where mining and oil exploration are prohibited to preserve their rich natural resources.

CG Adm. Artemio Abu, Philippine Coast Guard commandant, said he observed other foreign vessels during his visit to Pag-asa Island on May 14 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,” he said.

“My guidance to them, we will challenge them. But according to the Coast Guard Fleet, the WPS is peaceful and the ships of Vietnam and China have shown respect for our mission,” he added.