The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) built command observation posts (COPs) on Likas Island, Lawak Island, and Parola Island in order to increase maritime domain awareness in the West Philippine Sea on May 17.

“Through these COPs, we improve our capabilities in promoting maritime safety, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection,” Coast Guard commandant Adm. Artemio Abu said in a news release issued Friday.

The PCG’s Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan also built a smart house and installed radio communications on the islands during the deployment of the largest Coast Guard contingent in the WPS.

“The activation of these COPs complies with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade’s guidance to support the country’s maritime transportation and shipping industry by promoting maritime safety and maritime security,” Abu said.

“These COPs will optimize the strategic deployment of PCG assets by monitoring the movement of merchant ships in its surrounding waters and communicating maritime incidents to the PCG national headquarters,” he added.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea and National Security Council Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, also supported the initiative.

He said this would guide domestic and international ships passing the country’s waters through safe and secure sea lines of communications.