MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights on Friday lauded the Philippine Coast Guard for its fresh efforts to assert the country's rights over the West Philippine Sea.
The commission noted that the PCG installed 5 navigational buoys bearing the national flag in Philippine-held detachments in the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratly Islands).
"The CHR lauds the efforts of the Philippine Coast Guard for asserting the sovereignty of the Philippines over the disputed territories where China has constructed artificial islands and interfered with Filipino fishing activities," said CHR executive director Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
"No State should deprive our Filipino fisherfolk from carrying out their livelihood in our national territories. The installation of navigational buoys is a notice to the rest of the international community that the Philippines is asserting sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group," she added.
China has ignored a 2016 ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that junked its historical claims to the area. It reinforced its stance by building artificial islands over some contested reefs and installing weapons on them.
"China has no legal basis to claim over the 'nine-dash line' historic claim," said CHR's De Guia.
PCG: MORE FISHERMEN ON PAG-ASA ISLAND
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the PCG confirmed that there was an "increasing presence" of Filipino fishermen on Pag-asa Island.
It said some 25 Filipino fishing boats sailed near the island from May 12 to 14, during PCG's deployment of its largest contingent in the West Philippine Sea.
PCG commandant Admiral Artemio M Abu said this showed that "intensified" coast guard presence makes Filipino fishers feel safe.
The PCG also distributed relief supplies and COVID-19 kits to fishermen on the island.
On Friday, the Coast Guard also announced that it successfully established command posts on Likas Island, Lawak Island, and Parola Island on May 17.
The command posts are expected to expand the "maritime domain awareness" of the PCG in the area, Abu said.
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