The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) and Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) completed the construction and installation of sovereign markers in the 11 uninhabited islands in Northern Philippines on 18 August 2020.
The sovereign marker symbolizes the assertion of our country’s absolute sovereignty over the said uninhabited islands and over the surrounding territorial waters. This also signifies actual physical occupation and development efforts that remove any doubt on the Philippines’ ownership of these islands.
The instruction for NOLCOM and NFNL to construct and install sovereign markers in the northern-most uninhabited islands came directly from the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, during his visit last year, after he made his aerial ocular inspection of the earthquake-stricken island of Itbayat.
The 11 islands were selected based on their strategic relevance. These islands are conspicuously located at the fringes of the island clusters of the Babuyan Group of Islands (BGI) and the Batanes Island Group (BIG), making the sovereign markers clearly visible to ships transiting the waterways connecting the West Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health regulations imposing community quarantine, the completion of the sovereign markers project took 6 months . Inclement weather and unfavorable sea conditions were also among the challenges encountered by the construction team.
The 11 selected islands which belong to the Babuyan Island Group and Batanes Group of Island are the following:
- Ali Island, Itbayat Batanes
- Dinem Island, Itbayat Batanes
- Siayan Island, Itbayat Batanes
- Misanga Island, Itbayat Batanes
- Vohos Island, Sabtang Batanes
- Dequey Island, Sabtang Batanes
- Pinon Island, Calayan Cagayan
- Pamoctan Island, Calayan Cagayan
- Balintang Island, Calayan Cagayan
- Palaui Island, Sta Ana Cagayan
- Dos Hermanas Island, Sta Ana Cagayan
The Philippine Navy continues to intensify its efforts in securing and protecting the northern maritime territory of the country. Regular conduct of surface maritime patrols and maritime air surveillance around and over our northern islands have been doubled to prevent any unauthorized foreign incursions. The Navy is also in the process of installing Littoral Monitoring Stations (LMS) in strategic locations in the North which will enable the Navy to observe the activities of all transiting vessels in the area, be it merchant or military. Naval Forces Northern Luzon