Wednesday, May 4, 2016

AFP hoisted Philippine flag on the northernmost island of Batanes

The Armed Forces of the Philippines visited the farthest part of Batanes Island for a dialogue on maritime domain security.

Other countries claim not only the Philippines’ territory in the West Philippine Sea. Even the seas at the northernmost part of the country are being intruded by illegal foreign fishing vessels.

The Mavulis Island in Batanes is considered to be the northernmost island in the Philippines and one of islands which is hardest to reach.

But according to local fishermen, there are foreign fishers spotted in the area these past years. These illegal fishermen even chase them out from the area.

According to Itbayat Mayor Reuel Ibañez, they are sometimes worried that these illegal fishermen might occupy our islands in the north like what they did in West Philippine Sea.

The AFP Northern Luzon Command headed by commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo Tanago, visited the local settlers of the islands of Itbayat, Batanes to conduct dialogue on maritime domain security.

The local fishermen aired their various concerns and the need to be protected while fishing in the area.

According to a local fisherman Cyruz Baluca, 

“We now feel complacent to fish in these waters, Taiwanese fisherman now know that our government can reach even the farthest islands of the country to patrol.”

After the dialogue AFP proceeded to an uninhabited Mavulis Island located 20 nautical miles from Itbayat to hoist  the Philippine flag to assert sovereignty over the northernmost island.

According to commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo Tanago,

“This is not aggressive this is just asserting our sovereignty our vision of the armed forces is to protect the people and to secure the sovereignty of the state.”

The uninhabited Mavulis Island (also known as Y’ami Island’s Hill 200) can serve as temporary shelter for local fishermen whenever they were caught by bad weather at sea.

AFP assured the locals that they will conduct routine patrol operations in the area in the coming days.

Other civil society organization also offers help in establishing maritime security in the islands headed by the local residents of Itbayat, Batanes.

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